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By Owen Lattimore 

The Desert Road to Turkestan 

High Tartary 
Manchuria, Cradle of Conflict 

The Mongols of Manchuria 

Inner Asian Frontiers of China 

Mongol Journeys 

America and Asia 

China, A Short History 
(with Eleanor Lattimore] 

Solution in Asia 
The Situation in Asia 

The Situation in Asia 


The Situation in Asia 

An Atlantic Monthly Press Book 

little. Brown and Company * Boston 







Published April 1949 




Published simultaneously 
in Canada by McClelland and Stewart Limited 



A PART of the historical material in this book was read 
as a paper delivered to the American Historical Society 
at its meeting of December 1948 at Washington, D.C., 
and published in the Atlantic Monthly for March 
1949. Another part was published in the Atlantic for 
April 1949. Still other passages were first published 
in the syndicated articles which I have for several 
years written for Overseas News Agency. They hold 
the copyright on these articles, and I am grateful to 
them for their permission to republish. I also wish to 
acknowledge permission from Foreign Affairs for the 
use of quotations from "Stalin on Revolution" by 

My wife worked so hard in helping to get the book 
ready for the press that in large measure like all my 
books it has become hers. 



Foreword vii 

i The Ruins of Empire 3 

ii Heritage of Empire 14 

in Legacy of War 36 

iv Nationalism and Revolution 52 

v Russia's Frontier in Asia 75 

vi Japan Is Nobody's Ally 104 

vii War and Revolution in China 136 

vin China, Russia, and America 162 

ix Beachheads of Empire 181 

x The Essentials of an American Policy in 

Asia 216 

Index 239 

The Situation in Asia 



ASIA is out of control. From Suez to the western Pa- 
cific we face one problem after another, in one coun- 
try after another, which we cannot settle either by 
an American decision or by joint action with coun- 
tries that we consider our allies. 

From the Arab countries to China, the old forms of 
ascendancy, protectorate, or rule cannot be reasserted 
by military action. We have already had enough expe- 
rience to prove that the more modern and highly 
equipped is the military force that is used, the more 
expensive is the failure eventually inflicted on it by 
cheap methods of guerrilla warfare that require no 
industrial support. An attempt to stun the peoples 'of 
Asia by atomic warfare is out of the question, except 
for madmen. Asia has no highly developed nerve cen- 
ters to be par ily zed. Atomic warfare the ultimate 
in the use of technology for the purpose of conquest 
would in Asia only create a poisonous devastation 
which it would be beyond the resources even of Amer- 
ica to revive economically or administer. 

Nor can Asia be starved out or coerced econonii- 

_^ s- 

cally. Everywhere in Asia the local resources are am- 

4 The Situation in Asia 

pie enough to enable the people to survive without 
being more miserable even if they resist military coer- 
cion: and that degree of misery is one which they are 
prepared to endure. Being willing to hold out, they have 
the upper hand over us; for we need the oil, rubber, 
tin, and other products of Asia even more than the 
peoples of Asia need our capita I, tractors, textile and 
mining machinery, technicians, and teachers. 

Asia, to sum it up, has become a part of the world 
where the great powers can no longer lay down the 
law as they did in the nineteenth century and the 
early part of the twentieth century. We must nego- 
tiate; and we can only negotiate successfully i,: people 
in Asia are as well satisfied with what they get out of 
negotiated agreements as we are with what we get 
out of them. This limitation applies to Russia as well 
as to the other great powers. 

The Near East used to be comfortably managed by 
a system of British alliances with Arab monarchs and 
chiefs. Today, that fabric of alliances has been ripped 
across by the rise of Israel. The fact that Israel is so 
tiny, and yet has been able to throw the Arab world 
into such disorder, is a warning that new kinds of 
power are coming into play that cannot be measured 
by old standards. 

Iran and Afghanistan are countries that cannot, in 
the long run, be held either by troops sent from Amer- 
ica or Britain or by American and British air bases. Nor 
can the political structure of either Iran or Afghan- 
istan be patched up and stabilized by political support 

The Ruins of Empire 5 

or economic aid from Britain and America. Slowly 
as yet, but with an unmistakable acceleration, the so- 
cieties of Iran and Afghanistan, like the Arab societies, 
are moving into a phase of chartge. In less than ten 
years the process of social change in these countries 
will produce economic developments and new political 
structures unrecognizable in comparison with what 
now exists. 

India and Pakistan have replaced the old Indian 
Empire. Their relations with each other, with Britain, 
and with Russia have not yet been stabilized; but one 
thing is already clear. In 1939, when Britain declared 
war on Germany, the Indian Empire was not con- 
sulted. By Britain's declaration, it was automatically 
at war; and all through the war the allocation of In- 
dian resources to the war effort and of Indian man- 
power to various battlefields was determined not in 
India by Indians, but in London by the British. It 4s 
a truth not usually emphasized, but nevertheless the 
truth, that Britain could not have survived, and could 
not have held North Africa and the Near East, with- 
out the men and resources drawn from India. But in 
a third world war, if there is to be one, these decisions 
will not be made in Britain. India and Pakistan will be 
at war only if they make their own decisions in New 
Dfelhi and Karachi, and only if they decide on war in 
their own interests. 

In Burma, politics is a deadly serious business. Par- 
ties are armed, and carry their disagreements into 
battle; but the amazing development, which no one 
could have predicted while either the British or the 

6 The Situation in Asia 

Japanese held Burma, is that all principal parties, even 
though they fight each other, are avowedly Marxist. 

In colonial Asia, Indonesia, Malaya, and Indo-China 
all used to be great revenue producers for Western 
Europe. What they produced, moreover, was of inter- 
national strategic significance like rubber, tin, oil, 
bauxite, kapok, and quinine. Political manifestations 
were weak in all three countries. They could be held 
in check by a minimum show of force. Today, all 
three countries are a drain on the countries trying to 
retain or reassert control over them, though Malaya 
may still be showing the British some profit on bal- 
ance. Malaya is held by the Brigade of Guards, the 
elite troops of the British Army. The Dutch have an 
estimated 125,000 men in Indonesia, and the French 
over 100,000 in Indo-China. 

China was once a country in which foreign invest- 
ments were safer than the investments of powerful 
Chinese. Today, after twenty years of civil war, for- 
eign invasion, and renewed civil war, China is beyond 
control^ Whether Russia can eventually assert control 
is a question to be considered later; but three years of 
effort by American political, economic, and military 
advisors, and two billion dollars of American expend- 
itures between August 1945 and the end of 1948, 
failed completely to produce a government to the lik- 
ing of America. 

In an Asia out of control, the situation in Japan 
looks at first glance like the one exception. But in 
Japan, too, the future is uncertain. The American 
policy of making Japan both a workshop for Asia and 

The Ruins of Empire 7 

a bulwark against Russia is based on assumptions that 
within a year will begin to seem much less valid than 
they did in 1948. Japan is a workshop without raw 
materials, and a bulwark manned by defenders who 
may in their own good time decide to deal with the 
other side. Economically, America does not have a sur- 
plus of raw materials big enough to take the place of 
everything that Japan used to draw from Asia. Po- 
litically and militarily, America is not being kept in 
Japan by a Japanese demand for protection against 
Russia. The ruling consideration is the American de- 
mand for a position of advantage against Russia. The 
fact that the situation has these two aspects means that 
Japan is not under unchallengeable control. On the 
contrary, the chances are increasingly in favor of 
Japan's ability to play America's need against what- 
ever Russia and China may have to offer. 

Since the defeat of Germany and Japan the vistas of 
a new era of world politics have been opening out be- 
fore us more swiftly than the traditional policies of 
the great powers could be adjusted to deal with new 
conditions and problems. In the change from old and 
familiar standards of power and politics, Asia is linked 
with Europe. We are rapidly being forced to realize 
that there is not a single major problem in Europe that 
can be worked out satisfactorily unless Asia is taken 
into the calculation. 

What we face is nothing less than the necessity to 
abandon a large part of the patched-together thinking 
that has passed for statesmanship since the end of the 
war. The first delusion to be abandoned is the assurnp- 

8 The Situation in Asia 

tion that we can deal with the world's problems in 
one-two-three order: first Russia; then Europe, as the 
key position from which to halt the spread of Russian 
power and influence; then Asia, to the extent that it 
is important for Europe's economic recovery. All of 
these problems are interdependent. All must therefore 
be dealt with simultaneously, with due regard to their 
interaction on each other. It was so determined for us 
by what happened during die' war, as- well as by our 
policy aims since the war. 

During the war, while Germany occupied France 
and contained Britain, Japan was able to destroy the 
old structure of empire in Asia beyond the possibility 
of restoration. Then the Allied victory destroyed both 
Japan's empire in Asia and Germany's empire in East- 
ern Europe and the Balkans, The surge of victory, 
however, was not strong enough to carry Britain, 
France, and Holland back to full control of their old 
empires. Their inability to reoccupy and rebuild the 
ruins of empire kit the way open for three new man- 
ifestations: the spread of American power and in- 
fluence; the spread of Russian power and influence; 
and the rise of new forms of power in Asia. 

The fact that both Russia and America have greatly 
widened their orbits of control and influence has been 
recognized by everyone. The importance of the third 
manifestation the rise in Asia of new forms of power 
not subject to the old forms of imperial control has 
been seriously underestimated. Yet the Asia which 
succumbed to cheap and rapid conquest in the eight- 
eenth and nineteenth centuries has shown a formi- 

The Ruins of Empire 9 

dable ib iity to resist modern armies equipped with 
planes, tanks, motorized transport, and mobile artil- 
lery. The old arithmetic of Asia was a temptation to 
strong countries. Small forces conquered large ter- 
ritories. The returns, first in loot, then in direct taxa- 
tion, and finally in trade, investment, and long-term 
exploitation, paid off the capital cost with incredible 
rapidity. The new arithmetic is discouraging. The 
most determined attempts to restore imperial control 
are those that have been made in Malaya, Indonesia, 
and Indo-China. The results, except, perhaps, in 
Malaya, where there is no united nationalist movement, 
indicate that even if, eventually, the countries can be 
conquered and "pacified," the capital cost will be so 
heavy that in order to recover the investment a longer 
period of peaceful trade, political submissiveness, and 
docile labor conditions will be needed than any sound 
banker would be willing to predict. The results of the 
British, Dutch, and French attempts at direct recon- 
quest check closely with the results of the American 
attempt in China to maintain indirect control by back- 
ing one side against the other in a civil war. 

The ability of Asia to resist control radiates an in- 
fluence on world politics in three directions simultane- 
ously: toward Western Europe, toward America, and 
toward Russia. Europe's poiiticH power- in Asia has 
decreased, but Europe's economic dependence on Asia 
is as great as it ever was. Either Europe must live in- 
definitely on a dole from America, or it must recover 
some at least of its old channels of interchange with 
Asia: Europe needs raw materials from Asia, and can 

10 The Situation in Asia 

sell to Asia both consumer goods and capital goods for 
industrial development. Every failure to reopen these 
old channels by the use of military force increases the 
pressure on Europe to resort to negotiation, on terms 
that will win the consent of Asia. 

The countries that are affected by this pressure are 
key countries. The Western Union countries of 
Europe, which have been selected by American policy 
as the nucleus of an Atlantic Pact, are Britain, France, 
Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. Of these, only 
Luxembourg has no colonies. Belgium has vast holdings 
in Africa, Holland in Asia. Britain and France have 
colonial possessions in both Africa and Asia, and in 
Asia they have important investments and trade inter- 
ests outside of their own possessions. From the point 
of view of the American interest, any European coun- 
try that is fighting in Asia instead of trading with Asia 
has a hole in its pocket. Marshall Plan money put in 
the pockets of Britain, France, or Holland is not a good 
risk if it is going to run out through the hole of 
chronic warfare against colonial guerrillas, or of un- 
economically high expenditure on the policing of 
countries that are only nominally pacified. 

The relationship of Asia to Russia is of a different 
kind. Russia is the only great power whose home 
population is in direct contact with Asia along a land 
frontier. America is separated from Asia by wide 
oceans. So is Europe, for all practical purposes. 
Though Europe is a peninsula projecting from the 
Eurasian land mass, the Western European nations 
have always moved by water, not by land, in making 

The Ruins of Empire 11 

their conquests in Asia and in trading with Asia. Only 
a few Americans and Europeans go to Asia. Only rich 
people in Asia can travel to Europe and America. 
Ordinary people have only a hazy idea of what Euro- 
pean countries and the United States are like, as 
countries. In Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Mon- 
golia, and Korea, on the other hand, there are millions 
of people who are conscious of the Russians not as 
just another country, but as permanent neighbors/For 
such people, Russia is not a fabulous country. No 
propaganda can hide from them the fact that there is 
both good and bad in Russia. No Russian propaganda 
can prevent some people among Russia's neighbors 
from fearing her; no propaganda against Russia can 
prevent others from envying some of the things that 
Russia has. Things that Russia's neighbors fear are 
discussed in later chapters. The things that are admired 
or envied are where the competition lies for ex- 
ample, the schools, universities, hospitals, industrial 
developments, modernized farming, and opportunities 
for skilled workers that Russia has in greater abun- 
dance than any of its neighbors in Asia. 

For such reasons as these, the psychological relation- 
ship between Asia and Russia is quite different from 
the relationship between America and Russia. It is 
practically impossible to persuade the ordinary Amer- 
ican worker or farmer that conditions in Russia will 
ever be as good as they are in America. All that he 
knows about Russia is words. If the words come from 
a pro-Russian American, he is suspicious; if they come 
from Russia's own propaganda, he is even more sus- 

12 The Situation in Asia 

picious. Among those peoples in Asia who live near 
the Russian frontier, on the other hand, it is impossible 
to hide the fact that Russia has progressed much farther 
than their own countries. What these people say about 
Russia is passed on by word of mouth to others who 
live farther from the frontier. The propaganda that 
counts in Asia therefore is not Russia's own propa- 
ganda but the competing propaganda, among those 
who live near Russia, between those who have some- 
thing bad to say and those who have something good 
to say. 

While one line of American interest runs through 
Europe to Asia, another line runs through Asia to 
Russia. The spread of Russian influence into Asia is 
upsetting to Europe and America. The spread of di- 
rect Russian control over Asia would be disastrous for 
the countries of Asia as well as for America and 
Europe. To replace one kind of empire with another 
kind of empire would make things worse, not better. 
For Russia the problem of Asia is much vaster and 
more complex than the problem of Eastern Europe, 
and the Russians may not be able to assert control in 
the same manner. As an alternative they may have to 
work out relations with Asia that will be acceptable to 
the peoples of Asia and this is a possibility that West- 
ern statesmen cannot afford to overlook. 

It is this question of the kind of relations acceptable 
to Asia that is crucial. Linked with it is the question 
of the degree to which countries in Asia may them- 
selves take the initiative in setting the standards of 
relationship which are workable because they are 

The Ruins of Empire 13 

mutually acceptable. The part played by Asia in re- 
grouping the complex of international relations be- 
tween Asia, Europe, America, and Russia may prove 
to be more decisive than the parts played even by 
America and Russia. 

There will of course be competition between Amer- 
ica and Russia to exercise influence in Asia. There 
will always be a tendency for American policy to 
support vested European interests in Asia against the 
spread of new Russian interests. America's own inter- 
ests in Asia, however, are not identical with those of 
Europe, so that there will also be competition in Asia 
between American and European interests. Because of 
this diversity of the competing interests, the countries 
of Asia have an increasing freedom of maneuver. 

In order to analyze the potentials of maneuver, the 
recent history of Asia must be reviewed. Asia is out 
of control, but not all of Asia is equally out of con- 
trol. Nor are nationalist revolution, internal social 
revolution, and economic change at equal levels of 
development all through Asia. In studying politics 
amid the ruins of empire, we must take, as a starting 
point, the great age of empire. 



THE great age of empire was the second half of the 
nineteenth century. It opened with a hardening of the 
lines of power politics in the reaction that followed 
the European revolutions of 1848. Then came fifty 
years marked by Perry's opening of Japan, the Cri- 
mean War, the Indian Mutiny, Russia's acquisition 
of the Amur and Ussuri territories, and the Taiping 
and Moslem rebellions in China. The American Civil 
War and the emancipation of the serfs in Russia were 
followed by the filling up of the American West and 
by vast Russian conquests in Turkistan. The fifty 
years wound up with the Sino- Japanese War of 1894-- 
1895, the Spanish- American War, the completion of 
the Trans-Siberian and Chinese Eastern Railways, the 
enunciation of the Open Door Doctrine, and the 
Boxer Rebellion in China. 

In the heart of this period the British and French 
took the lead in building up the Treaty Port system in 
China which was the structural framework of the 
"Unequal Treaties" curtailing China's sovereignty and 
giving foreigners a position of privilege. The process 
actually began with the British-imposed Treaty of 

Heritage of Empire 15 

Nanking, accepted in 1842 and ratified in 1843, at the 
close of the Opium War. As early as 1844 the Ameri- 
can policy in China was defined in the Treaty of 
Wanghia: it was to be a policy refraining from ter- 
ritorial concessions, but emphasizing most-favored- 
nation status, or "me too" equality in enjoying any 
rights or privileges conceded by China to any foreign 

In this great age of empire there was an unceasing 
redistribution of power among the great nations 
which, standing outside of Asia, projected their con- 
trol into Asia. The shares of power passed from hand 
to hand; but any hand that held a share of this kind 
of power could be stretched out over Asia. Three 
types of empire marked the period. 

The British Empire was built by an accumulative 
process. Its component parts were separately acquired, 
and were physically divided from each other and from 
the center of imperial power in Britain by expanses of 
ocean. To relatively unpopulated domains like Canada 
and Australia Britain exported colonists. To conquered 
territories already well populated, of which India was 
by far the most important, Britain exported garri- 
son troops, administrators, merchants, and managers. 
The growth of the empire was accompanied by the 
growth of a caste system. Even "colonials" from 
Canada and Australia were long regarded as politically 
subordinate and socially uncouth. As for the peoples of 
India, Burma, and so on, even their aristocratic families 
were definitely subjects, not citizens. 

Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, America, and 

16 The Situation in Asia 

Japan, By the end of the century, all approximated to 
the British type in their relations with possessions over- 

The Russian Empire was built by an incorporative 
process differing from the accumulative process. All 
of its holdings lay within one vast, unbroken expanse 
of land. Alaska, the one exception, was given up. 
Peoples were incorporated, as well as territories. The 
ordinary Russian was himself a subject, rather than a 
citizen. Non-Russian peoples were assimilated to the 
status of the Russians themselves. Ordinary people 
were held in subjection, but a part of the ruling class 
of each people was assimilated to the status of the 
Russian ruling class. The precedents for this kind of 
incorporation had been laid down long before. Cen- 
turies of interpenetration with nomadic peoples on the 
steppe frontier of European Russia had made class 
warfare and class politics as familiar as national war- 
fare and politics to both Russians and non-Russians. 
When nomad khans had the upper hand, some of the 
Russian nobles became their vassals and continued 
as a ruling class; and though they were a subordinate 
part of the ruling class, the degree of subjection did 
not prevent intermarriage, which is all-important in 
welding a ruling class together. Then when the Rus- 
sians in turn conquered the steppes and Siberia, they 
took part of the steppe nobility and tribal chieftains 
into their service, continued some of their privileges, 
and did not deny them intermarriage. There was even 
more intermarriage between subject Russians and sub- 
ject non-Russians* 

Heritage of Empire 17 

The differences between the British and Russian 
types of empire became of increasing importance as 
modern nationalism developed. Among the colonial 
subjects of the British many who would themselves 
have been high in the ruling class, had it not been for 
the British, were early leaders of nationalist move- 
ments for independence. In the Tsarist Empire, on the 
other hand, any form of revolution, including national- 
ist revolution, was bound to affect both Russians and 
non-Russians, who lived side by side, or intermingled 
with each other. In addition to what we think of as 
"Russian Asia" there were many minority "Islands" 
of non-Russians scattered through the Russian popu- 
lation. Under such conditions, the majority of each 
non-Russian ruling class was bound to identify its 
interests with those of the Russian ruling class. Conse- 
quently the outcome of the Russian Revolution was 
determined, throughout the possessions of Russia in 
Asia, by a left-wing leadership which believed in revo- 
lution against Its own ruling class as well as against 
the Russian state. There was thus a community of In- 
terest between the left-wing nationalists and the Bol- 
sheviks, who were determined to destroy both the 
Tsarist state and the society that had supported It; 
whereas in a country like India, even British factory 
foremen and rank-and-file soldiers with non-Old- 
School-Tie accents identified themselves with their 
own ruling class against all "natives." 

The Chinese Empire was the third great type, in 
spite of the fact that it was itself the victim of im- 
perialist aggression. Its importance has been neglected 

18 The Situation in Asia 

simply because in modern times the Chinese state has 
been weak. The Chinese Empire was neither accumu- 
lative nor incorporative, but absorptive. The dominant 
characteristic in the territorial spread of the Chinese 
has been their willingness throughout history to ac- 
cept as Chinese any barbarian who would drop his 
language and learn Chinese, wear Chinese clothes, 
farm like the Chinese, and accept the other conven- 
tions of being a Chinese. In earlier centuries this at- 
titude was a source of untold strength to the Chinese: 
a great part of the nation is descended from barbarians 
absorbed into the Chinese state through being ab- 
sorbed into the Chinese culture. 

In the face of modern nationalism, however, this 
old Chinese strength has become a weakness. Peoples 
like the Mongols, the Tibetans, the Central Asian sub- 
jects of China, and even to a large extent the Chi- 
nese-speaking Moslems, reject a Chinese "equality" 
the price of which is abandonment of their own 
languages and other distinguishing cultural character- 
istics. Among the fatal mistakes of the Kuomintang, in 
its struggle with the Chinese Communists, was its at- 
tempt, even after the eleventh hour, to force the Chi- 
nese language on non-Chinese minorities, together with 
administrative subdivisions that prevented each minor- 
ity from being represented in the government except 
as a subordinate part of a Chinese province. 1 

Changes in the distribution of power over the Far 

1 Compare Owen Lattimore, "The Inland Crossroads of 
Asia," in Compass of the World, edited by Hans Weigert 
and Vilhjalmur Stefansson, New York, 1944. 

Heritage of Empire 19 

East In the second half of the nineteenth century were 
effected by interaction between these three kinds of 
empire. In this interaction it is not usually noted, but 
certainly should be noted, that while China lost in 
power to the other kinds of empire the Chinese in then- 
own empire gained in territory and in power over the 
non-Chinese minorities. 

The building of railways shows the double process 
at work. Railways were in the first instance imposed 
on China In the strategic and commercial Interest of 
foreign countries; but once built, they increased be- 
yond all comparison with earlier periods the ability of 
the Chinese to penetrate and make Chinese In popula- 
tion such frontier territories as the Manchurian prov- 
inces and Inner Mongolia. The Manchus were 
drowned in their ancient homeland by the flooding 
new population, and the Mongols were swept back 
from thousands of square miles of territory in eastern 
and southern Inner Mongolia. Other parts of China, 
remote from the actual penetration of railways, were 
also affected by the acceleration of economic and so- 
cial change of which the railways were a part, and 
which as a whole was driven forward by the economic 
pressure of the West on China. One of the conse- 
quences was a speeding-up of the rate of absorption 
of non-Chinese "tribal" minorities In the south and 
west of China. 

The external and internal aspects of the subordina- 
tion of Asia in this age of empire must be understood 
in relation to each other. In the external aspect the 
predatory empires, spurred by trade rivakies and dif- 

20 The Situation in Asia 

fering rates of industrialization, fought and maneu- 
vered against each other; but while they could chal- 
lenge each other in Europe, and sometimes in Asia 
itself, Asia could not challenge them. When Britain 
put down the Indian Mutiny, it was possible to go far 
beyond the mere restoration of law and order. The 
British were able to revise the entire administrative 
system and to set up a new and more imperial one that 
endured for many decades. When the West, after some 
hesitation, decided not to let the Taiping Rebellion 
in China take its course, but to uphold the Manchu 
Dynasty, it was able to prolong the tenure of the dy- 
nasty for half a century. 

When Britain, rounding out the northwestern fron- 
tier of India, and Russia, rounding out its conquests 
in Inner Asia, decided not to go on sparring with each 
other but each to recognize the other in its sphere of 
activity, their decision stood. Britain and Russia de- 
cided the spheres of influence; countries like Persia 
and Afghanistan were unable to assert the right, much 
less to demonstrate the ability, to cross over from 
the British sphere of influence into the Russian, even 
when the line of division, as in Persia, ran right through 
the country. A mere approximation toward agreement 
between Britain and France, more tacit than explicit, 
and motivated by their common interest in the face of 
German rivalry, was enough to enable Siam to survive 
as the only nominally independent country in South- 
east Asia. China had to accept the way in which the 
apportionment of power in Manchuria was repeatedly 
changed by diplomatic representations, wars, and 
treaties between the imperial powers. 

Heritage of Empire 21 

In the internal aspect, on the other hand, Asia did 
not remain "the unchanging East." Change was at 
work below the level at which imperial control was 
unchallengeable. In spite of its shaky sovereignty China 
became more Chinese. Looking back from the present 
we can see more clearly than contemporaries could 
that in spite of all confusion it was in this period that 
there originated an Indian nationalism and an Indian 
mode of politics, and a Chinese nationalism and mode 
of politics; and there were weaker but kindred stirrings 
throughout the rest of Asia. Inevitably the nations 1 *- r ni 
that developed under the lid of imperial rule and out- 
side control was an anti-imperialist nationalism. 

The difference betvr * ;:> *V" 1 ,, .-/ w .,, uus h that the 
major and minor phenomena .iave changed places. 
The primary, active force then at work was the pro- 
jection of imperial power over Asia; the secondary, 
reactive force was the beginning of nationalism among 
the peoples and in the countries of Asia. The primary, 
active force now is the dominant nationalism of Asia; 
the secondary, reactive force is the effort to conserve 
some of what remains of the old power of empire. 
World instability then arose not out of Asia but out 
of the incessant redistribution of power among the em- 
pires controlling Asia. Instability now arises out of the 
fact that while Asia is in the main out of control from 
the point of view of the West, it is not yet fully under 
control from its own point of view. Nationalism is 
dominant, but not completely free to act; national 
policies are still clogged by the hampering remains of 
external economic, strategic, and political control. 

The Anglo-American Open Door Doctrine marks 

22 The Situation in Asia 

the first clear phase of transition to a Far East out of 
control, and from rivalry between similar competitors 
to rivalry between competitors dissimilar from each 
other and hostile to each other in ideology, social and 
political structure, and economic operation. Before 
taking up this transition it is worth recalling the tone 
and temper of the age of empire, which began with an 
unworried acceptance of the changes and shifts of 
power, and ended with the disturbing fear of dif- 
ferent kinds of power. 

In the autumn of 1860 Raphael Pumpelly, a young 
American geologist and mining engineer, reached the 
end of the railway in Missouri. He pushed on to the 
Pacific and five years later completed his travels, truly 
formidable for that time, through Japan, China, In- 
ner and Outer Mongolia, Siberia, and European Rus- 
sia. The Russian railway did not then extend east of 

Pumpelly was able to look out over the world, and 
over America's position in the world, from a point of 
advantage exceptional in his day. "If we look at a map 
of the world with reference to the inevitable future of 
the northern temperate zone," he wrote, "we shall 
find its greatest cultivable areas divided between two 
great sections of mankind, the Anglo-Saxon and the 
Sclavonic." (He even expected the Anglo-Saxons to 
dominate Latin America.) 

Of Russia he went on to write that 

When we consider the immense extent of this empire, 
and its capacity for population, wealth, and power, and 
then compare with it the small extent of western Europe, 

Heritage of Empire 23 

split up into small nationalities, with an overflowing pop- 
ulation dependent on the east and west for its supply of 
food, the belief of the Pan-Slavist seems most prophetic; 
Russia, more than America, "hangs like a thunder cloud" 
over its western neighbors. 

The expansion from the west and from the east to the 
opposite shores of the Pacific of two races and a civiliza- 
tion hitherto intimately connected with the Atlantic 
coasts, is already marking out for the Great ocean a most 
important part in the early future. Into this future history 
another element seems destined to enter; I mean the part 
that will be taken by the Chinese and Japanese peoples. 

The immense resources of China in coal and iron and 
other minerals, in labor and the means of supporting life, 
and in the conformation of its surface, are elements 
which in the present and coming age cannot be idle. The 
utilizing of these resources cannot fail to be followed by 
the same results there as elsewhere, raising the nation by 
which they are developed to a position of authority in the 
world's affairs. There seems to me little doubt that this 
result will be accomplished by the Chinese people. In 
every direction we see in this race evidence of that vital- 
ity which has made of them a great nation. . . . This 
vitality is becoming important in a new and equally im- 
portant direction: the Chinese are showing themselves to 
be essentially fitted to be colonizers, and as such they 
seem already to be resolving a great geographical prob- 
lem. . . . 2 

Russian and American thinking were soon to come 
into contact. Several decades later a Russian traveler in 
the Far East named Klingen, startled by the extrovert 

2 Raphael Pumpelly, Across America and Asia. Notes of a 
five years' journey around the world and of residence in 
Arizona, Japan and China y fifth ed., revised, New York, 1871, 
especially pp. 1, 5, and 424-427. 

24 The Situation in Asia 

self-assurance of the Americans he met, essayed a 
sketch of Uncle Sam: 

Indeed, the subject of the notorious Uncle Sam is not 
exhausted by his advertising, and the way he fancies his 
own greatness in his grandiose undertakings and his great- 
ness in the not less grandiose contradictions of his 
life. ... 

On the one hand, we have Uncle Sam encircled by a 
halo of goodness and charity, sending across the ocean 
whole boatloads of wheat to the starving Russians and 
Hindus; on the other hand, he causes a ferocious struggle 
for existence, and creates thousands of beggars and prole- 

The antiphonal account runs on: Uncle Sam is after 
the Hawaiian Islands, Cuba, and the Philippines; Uncle 
Sam sends Christian missionaries all over the world, but 
he goes in for lynching "under the noses" of the 
Senate and the House of Representatives. Above all, 
the American represents the evolution of modern 
capitalism. He has at his disposal fantastic resources 
of steam and electricity. Under capitalism and tech- 
nology, American life has become a "sport," in which 
the rich and successful contend for the market, the 
power of gold, the amassing of wealth, whilst the dull 
masses fight for a piece of bread, "and in this merci- 
less struggle for existence there is no place for the 
weak and unsuccessful." 

This premature Mr. Vyshinsky was a most respect- 
able man in the Russia of his time. His book was pub- 
lished by the printing press of the udel or Imperial 
Establishment of the Tsar. Moreover, while the Ameri- 
cans made him bristle, just as some Russians have al- 

Heritage of Empire 25 

ways made some Americans bristle, he came to a 
generous conclusion: 

While it is true that for the ordinary onlooker Uncle 
Sam will always remain a two-faced Janus, an astonishing 
combination of great good and great evil, yet to him who 
wishes to penetrate more profoundly into the actual his- 
torical process that is going on beyond the ocean, Amer- 
ica will undoubtedly present itself as the source of a 
bright future for all mankind and I profoundly be- 
lieve in the positive creative power of the North Ameri- 
can people! 8 

These two witnesses of the age of empire were men 
who both reflected their own time very typically and 
in some ways foreshadowed our own time. Pumpelly, 
the American and the earlier of the two, accepted with 
equanimity some ideas of drastic change. He assumed 
the rise, between the expanding "Anglo-Saxon" and 
"Sclavonic" peoples, of a powerful Chinese nation. 
The prospect did not alarm him. He equated change 
with progress rather than with instability. He noted 
with approval the aptitude of the Chinese as industrial 
workers and the emergence of successfully competitive 
Chinese capitalists in Malaya and the Hawaiian Islands. 
The nearest that he came to an awareness of differing 
ideologies was in expressing his disapproval of the way 
in which the Chinese, in "our western territories," were 

3 1. Klingen, Sredi patriarkhov zemledeliya narodov bli- 
zhnyago i daVnyago vostoka (Egipet, Indiya, Tseilon, Kitai 
i Yaponiya). Chast' III, Kitai. Among the patriarchs of agri- 
culture of the peoples of the Near and Far East (Egypt, 
India, Ceylon, China, and Japan). Part III, China, pp. 150- 
153. St. Petersburg, 1899. 

26 The Situation in Asia 

treated "worse than dogs"; he tentatively approved of 
intermarriage, because of "the danger of the forma- 
tion of caste if such a mixture does not take place." * 

Klingen, the Russian, coming at the very end of the 
period, showed the troubled dawn of ideological hos- 
tility. He was irritated by the vulgar American as- 
sumption that money is what creates power. With the 
authoritarian and feudal tradition of Russia behind 
him, his feeling was that power should create money. 
He used the words "capitalist" and "proletariat" with 
recognizable distaste. The way in which capitalists 
create a proletariat disturbs status; and it was in a 
society of status that he felt at home. One can almost 
write for him, between the lines, a statement that if 
only the American capitalist were subject to regulation 
through the granting of licences or concessions by a 
higher political authority, he would be socially ac- 
ceptable. His feeling for authority, however, also con- 
strained him to respect power, once in existence, no 
matter what its origin, and thus in the end he recon- 
ciled himself to America with the reflection that "for- 
tunately, capitalism does not by a long way exhaust 
the inner significance of the life of the great trans- 
oceanic republic," so that America could still "present 
itself as the source of a bright future for all man- 
kind." 5 

Up to the time of the Open Door Doctrine the un- 
ceasing redistribution of power in Europe and over 
Asia was conducted under conventions accepted by all 

4 Pumpelly, p. 426. 

5 Klingen, p. 153. 

Heritage of Empire 27 

the competitors. Countries competed with each other 
in seizing ports and bases and controlling lines of com- 
munication and access to new, unexploited territories. 
If the rivalry led to war, the winner acquired im- 
mediate rewards in the form of indemnities and annexa- 
tions. The loser paid an indemnity and ceded territory, 
or bases, or priority of access to a country that might 
be conquered and made into a colony, but was not de- 
barred from recovery and re-entry into competition. 
No Carthaginian peace terms were imposed; the rules 
of the game were observed, and the game went on. 

The Open Door Doctrine partially succeeded in 
changing the rules of the game, because the nature of 
the game was changing. It was the stop-Russia doc- 
trine of its day, at least on the British side, and it is 
curious how practically all mention of its origin as a 
policy to "contain" Russian expansion has dropped 
out of recent historical writing. Lord Charles Beres- 
ford, who in the winter of 1898-1899 toured China on 
behalf of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of 
Great Britain, and then went on to America to ad- 
vocate the adoption of the Open Door, was perfectly 
plain-spoken. In The Break-Up of China, the book he 
wrote describing his mission, he referred on page after 
page to the danger that Russian occupation of Chinese 
territory might put an end to the opportunities for 
merchants of other countries. 6 

6 Lord Charles Beresford, The Break-Up of China, New 
York, 1899. It is worth notice in passing that the doughty 
Beresford was a bit of a Colonel Blimp. Winston Churchill 
described him as "one of those orators who, before they get 

28 The Situation in Asia 

In his book China and America, Mr. Foster Rhea 
Dulles, the American historian who has most clearly 
dealt with the Russian aspect of the origin of the Open 
Door, cites the American press of 1898 as interpreting 
the situation to mean that "the real danger in the 
Chinese situation came from Russia, whose persistent 
advance in Manchuria appeared to foreshadow im- 
perialistic control over all north China." He adds that 
Secretary of State John Hay's objective "was to thwart 
discrimination against American trade from any 
quarter," whereas "Great Britain had perhaps hoped 
to draw the United States into a common policy pri- 
marily directed against Russia." 7 But while Hay was 
not ready to commit America to a policy directed 
more against Russia than against other rivals in China, 
other Americans were beginning to think of Russia 
uneasily. Henry Adams, friend of John Hay and the 
State Department "insiders," was one of those who 
were alarmed by the "glacier"-like advance of Russia 
on China. 8 

The Open Door formula brought into being in 
fact, though not by specific declaration, a league of 
countries with maritime access to the trade of the 

up, do not know what they are going to say; when they are 
speaking, do not know what they are saying; and, when they 
have sat down, do not know what they have said." "Sparks 
from the Anvil," Atlantic Monthly, Boston, January 1949, 
p. 25. 

7 Foster Rhea Dulles, China and America, Princeton, 1946, 
pp. 106 and 110. 

8 Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, 1918; 
cited from Boston edition of 1927, p. 440. 

Heritage of Empire 29 

Far East, to maintain conditions under which they 
could compete with each other and could enjoin Rus- 
sia, which alone had easy, commercially exploitable ac- 
cess to China by land, to observe those conditions. In 
order to make the policy effective it was necessary 
to renounce annexations, because if annexations were 
allowed, Russia, which could annex contiguous ter- 
ritories and incorporate them with the home domain, 
had an advantage of position that would make the 
competition of the others futile. To put it in another 
way, the Open Door rewrote the rules of the game in 
such a way as to try to make Russia, in spite of having 
a land frontier with China longer than the American- 
Canadian frontier, act as nearly as possible as if it 
had access to China only by sea. 

Japan was the most enthusiastic of all the countries 
that accepted the Open Door notes. Japan was at the 
time still under "unequal treaty" disabilities, as was 
China; but Japan had also already fought a successful 
imperialist war against China, had been deprived of 
part of the spoils of war by Russia (with the backing 
of France and Germany), and was in a position to ac- 
cept bids for support as a sentinel against Russian ex- 
pansion. A f ew years later, with Britain neutral on her 
side (in the Irish sense of the word "neutral") and the 
United States certainly not neutral against her, Japan 
defeated Russia. 

Japan then began to show an ambivalent ability to 
be both a part of the old system of keeping Asia under 
control and a part of the new process that eventually 
resulted in Asia's becoming out of control. As the most 

30 The Situation in Asia 

permanently anti-Russian of the maritime powers, 
Japan was essential to the working of the Open Door 
system. As a power within Asia, and so close to the 
mainland of Asia as to have almost the same kind of 
contiguity enjoyed by Russia, Japan sabotaged the 
Open Door. To the extent that support against Russia 
was useful, Japan worked with the Open Door pow- 
ers; but step by step, as Japanese control was expanded 
over Manchuria and into North China, commercial 
opportunities and the exploitation of all resources were 
monopolized in favor of Japan and to the exclusion of 
other Open Door powers. 

This ambivalence of Japanese policy, which goes 
with Japan's geographical position, should not be over- 
looked now when it is so fashionable to think of Japan 
as a trustworthy ally. No necessity ties Japan down 
to be permanently an ally in Asia of powers outside 
of Asia. Nothing guarantees America against the pos- 
sibility that while some Japanese demand American 
help against "Communist imperialism," other Japanese, 
who could easily become a majority, may negotiate for 
an understanding with China, and through China with 
Russia, as an offset against "American imperialism." 
The propaganda of "Asia for the Asiatics" was not 
silenced by Japan's defeat in the war. It is still a good 
line of propaganda, though it falls now on different 
ears, or ears differently attuned. 

The next phase in the passage of Asia from being 
under control to being out of control was marked by 
the Chinese Revolution of 1911. At the time of the 
Taiping Rebellion, the Western powers had been able 

Heritage of Empire 31 

to salvage the Manchu Dynasty. By 1911, not only 
was it impossible to salvage the dynasty; even the 
nomination of Yuan Shih-k'ai as a "strong man" to 
maintain the security of loans and investments was far 
from successful. The Western formula for a strong 
man called for a man strong enough to carry out poli- 
cies urgently demanded by foreign diplomats, but not 
quite strong enough to defy foreign control. The 
measure of the changes going on in Asia was that by 
the time of the Chinese Revolution a man not quite 
strong enough to defy the special interests of foreign 
countries was also not quite strong enough to be a 
dictator in China. 9 In the same way it was just not in 
the cards that Chiang Kai-shek could be made dictator 
of China after the defeat of Japan, when the major 
political demand all over China was for wider repre- 
sentative government. 

The third phase of transition was the Russian Revo- 
lution, which brought about new alignments in both 
the West and Asia. With the Russian Revolution, the 
old rules of the game of international relations com- 
pletely broke down, both in war and in peace. Here 
was a country thoroughly defeated, which instead of 
acknowledging defeat according to the accepted con- 
ventions began a new kind of warfare. In war between 

9 In this connection a professorial colleague of mine once 
remarked that the recommendation of Professor Frank J. 
Goodnow of Johns Hopkins University which encouraged 
Yuan Shih-k'ai to try to make himself Emperor was not 
wrong because it was morally wrong. It was wrong because 
by then it was "just not in the cards" for any man to make 
himself , or be made, Emperor of China. 

32 The Situation in Asia 

imperial powers, the use of colonial troops is con- 
sidered acceptable. Both Indian and African troops 
have fought splendidly in Europe. But there is no 
form of appeal by which one imperial power can win 
over, in large numbers, the colonial troops of another 
imperial power. Germany tried unsuccessfully to find 
such an appeal in the First World War. Revolutionary 
Russia succeeded, by declaring a war of ideas, and 
wherever possible of arms, on behalf of all colonial 
subjects against all imperial rulers. 

The development in Asia that responded to the Rus- 
sian Revolution was the realization that the ranks of 
the imperial powers now showed a gap, and that weak 
countries and immature political movements could 
now take advantage of a new kind of irreconcilable 
quarrel among great powers. Russia had been one of 
the greatest of the empires. The fact that such an 
empire could not only be defeated in war but sub- 
verted by an internal, antimonarchic revolution roused 
a new vigor in the nationalism of all subject peoples 
and half -subject peoples like the Chinese. Up to this 
time, the best that a weak country like China could do 
was to try to play great powers against each other. 
But the rival interests of the great powers were also 
similar interests. For this reason Chinese exploitation of 
their rivalry could never achieve more than a partial 
success; at this point similarity of interest invariably 
superseded rivalry of interest, and China was con- 
fronted once more with united policies and united 

The hostility between Russia and the other great 

Heritage of Empire 33 

powers was not of this reconcilable kind. Russia was 
the only great power that showed unlimited willing- 
ness to defy and considerable ability to defy success- 
fully the very countries that exercised control or rule 
over countries like China, India, and the rest of Asia. 
Those of the capitalist countries that consider them- 
selves democratic, and base their political appeal on 
democracy, have always been the most reluctant to 
admit that this characteristic of Russia is the basic rea- 
son why colonial and subject peoples do not make re- 
liable anti-Russian allies. 

Wherever Russian and Communist propaganda can 
be traced, Russian methods of using political move- 
ments in weak and dependent countries to throw great 
powers off balance and to hamper their political ma- 
neuvers have been studied. The importance of making 
such studies has led to neglect in studying the answer- 
ing process in Asia: the way in which nationalist move- 
ments all over Asia exploit and the word "exploit" is 
not too strong the existence of Russia. As long as 
such movements, even when they are non-Communist, 
can exploit the existence of Russia in their struggle 
against Britain, France, or Holland, they have a vested 
interest in the continued existence of a strong Russia. 

The fact that in Russia one of the world's great im- 
perial governments had collapsed was the first and 
most powerful Russian propaganda. It is significant 
that in China Sun Yat-sen showed interest in the Rus- 
sian Revolution before the new Soviet Government 
showed interest in him. Chou En-lai, a Chinese intel- 
lectual living in France, jumped from the Social Demo- 

34 The Situation in Asia 

cratic Second International to the Communist Third 
International because he appreciated that the mere ex- 
istence of a revolutionary Russia made it possible to 
strike out for China's emancipation in new and more 
effective ways. Chu Teh, a professional soldier who 
had gone to Germany to study military organization 
because, like many Chinese, he considered that Ger- 
many, even though defeated in the First World War, 
had shown superior military skill, turned instead to 
Communism, because as a soldier he was convinced 
that the Bolsheviks, in the Russian civil war and in re- 
sisting the intervention of the great powers, had de- 
veloped the kinds of military skill most suited to China, 
Similarly in India Nehru, without benefit of Russian 
prompting, began a careful study of the founders and 
leaders of world Communism, even though he never 
became a Communist himself. All of these are famous 
names; there are many others, all over Asia, whose 
names are less famous. 

The fourth phase of transition was dominated by 
Japan's aggressions. During this phase it became plain 
that Asia had passed out of control in two ways. In the 
first place, Japan itself, maneuvering from a position 
within Asia and between Russia and the great capitalist 
powers, could not be made to abide by the rules of a 
game which theoretically required all capitalist nations 
with interests in Asia to help each other exclude Rus- 
sia from the Far East, but not to exclude each other 
from the competitive market. Japan's capitalists, as 
well as Japan's militarists, took aid from other coun- 
tries for the avowed purpose of strengthening them- 

Heritage of Empire 35 

selves against Russia, but made their own nonaggres- 
sion pact with Russia when it suited them, and attacked 
those countries with which they were supposed to 
have the most fundamental interests in common. In the 
second place, while Japan thus proved itself out of con- 
trol from the point of view of the West, the mainland 
of Asia, and especially the massive bulk of China, 
proved to be out of control from the point of view of 

The phases of transition were completed with the 
end of the war. The uncontrollability of Asia is now 
nearing its full development. The characteristics of this 
new period must be carefully studied. In world poli- 
tics, they now constitute an important part of the new 
rules of the game. They are binding rules. We do not 
like the way they were drawn up, but ever since the 
war we have been learning, in the most hard and dis- 
agreeable way, that we are in no position to play the 
game against the rules. 



CURRENT American thinking about the power situa- 
tion resulting from World War II starts from the as- 
sumption that America and Russia, in that order, have 
become the two most powerful countries in the world 
so powerful that they can and must divide the world 
between them. Any part of the world that America 
cannot enclose within a steel ring, the argument runs, 
will be enclosed by Russia behind an iron curtain. The 
trouble with this thinking is that it does not begin at 
the beginning. It is not the absolute but the relative 
power of both America and Russia that counts. Both 
countries have grown in relative power because of the 
enormous power lost by Germany and Japan, and the 
almost equally great power lost by Britain, France, 
and, in the colonial world, Holland. Some of the power 
lost by these countries has been transferred directly to 
America and Russia, with America acquiring far more 
than Russia; but much of it has not. 

This unredistributed power is as important and 
critical in Asia today as is the power of America or 
Russia. Some of it may come into American or Rus- 
sian hands. In China, India, and colonial Asia, however, 

Legacy of War 37 

most of it has already been taken by parties and move- 
ments which vary in their ideas of social and economic 
revolution, but are alike in their intense nationalism. 
All parties in these countries, whatever the political 
orientation of their party members, are subject to an 
unceasing nationalistic pressure from the millions of 
their countrymen who are not members of any party, 
but do feel themselves to be part of the forward drive 
of a tremendous nationalist movement. 

The victories of Japan in the first two years after 
Pearl Harbor destroyed the old specifications on which 
estimates of power in Asia were based. They left us 
with an Asia out of control: but not all parts of Asia 
are out of control to the same degree, and therefore 
conflicting policies in Asia stem from conflicting esti- 
mates of the key factors that constitute power. What 
we are finding out, through these conflicts of policy, is 
that the ability to defeat Japan did not confer on the 
victor nations either the ability to undo what Japan 
had done successfully or the ability to complete what 
Japan had not succeeded in completing. 

What Japan did do successfully was to destroy the 
nineteenth-century structure of colonial empire in 
Asia. As long as colonial rule was a going concern, 
nationalism and rebellion could be dealt with by police 
action. Key points, lines of communication, and con- 
trol of the press and radio were in the hands of the 
rulers. The shipping out of colonial products and the 
shipping in of capital and consumer goods were run- 
ning along profitably. Influential individuals and some- 
times whole classes among the subject peoples hesitated 

38 The Situation in Asia 

to risk too much in supporting the cause of political 
freedom, because they feared economic losses in the 
period of transition. The leadership of nationalism was 
divided, and support for it was uneven. 

Not a single territory that had been occupied by the 
Japanese during the war could be taken back as a go- 
ing concern. Colonial peoples who had never been 
armed before had got possession of arms. They con- 
trolled parts of the territories. They controlled news- 
paper and radio facilities. Under the Japanese, some of 
those who had been rich and powerful had lost money 
or prestige, or both. New men had become influential. 
Even those who thought it to their own interest to 
come to terms again with the British, or the French or 
Dutch, saw no reason for handing back to their former 
rulers exactly the kind of power that they had had 
before. They wanted to bargain, and to secure better 
terms for themselves. In every case, therefore, the 
would-be returning rulers had to make a separate cal- 
culation: could they get away with a reconquest, or 
would they have to negotiate, or could they mix force 
and negotiation in different proportions? 

Both in reacting emotionally to moral issues and in 
making what we think are hardheaded decisions in 
power politics, Americans are the most unrealistic po- 
litical thinkers in the world. Until we get some of the 
illusions shaken out of us, we are certain to go on 
stumbling into the same kind of mess that we stumbled 
into in China in 1948. The year 1949 is likely to shake 
a good many illusions out of us. The question is 
whether enough will be shaken out, in time. 

Legacy of War 39 

One of our grand illusions is that colonial issues are 
essentially moral issues, not issues of power. We as- 
sume that we have been "good" to the Filipinos, while 
the European powers have not been "good," or not 
"good" enough, to their subjects in Asia. The truth is 
that the basic colonial relationship is one of power. In 
Indonesia, the basic issue to be settled is not whether 
the Dutch were as good or generous to the Indone- 
sians as they ought to have been. The issue is one of 
power. The Dutch did not have the power to hold 
Indonesia against the Japanese. They did not have the 
power to take it back from the Japanese. A British 
force landed to receive the Japanese surrender and 
held on long enough to shoehorn the Dutch back in. 
The Dutch still have no real power of their own. 
When they moved to crush Indonesian nationalism in 
December 1948, their calculation was based on the as- 
sumption that they had America backed into a corner. 
Because of the priority given by American policy to a 
Western Union of Holland, Belgium, France, Luxem- 
burg, and Britain, to form the nucleus of a North At- 
lantic Pact, they reasoned that America would con- 
tinue to pour Marshall Plan aid into Holland, enabling 
Holland to transfer strength to Indonesia and to hang 
onto sources of strategic supplies like oil, rubber, and 
tin. The upshot now turns on whether this mockingly 
disguised Dutch use of American subsidy for colonial 
conquest, obtained by blackmail, will be enough to do 
the job, or whether Indonesian guerrilla warfare will 
be able to make Chiang Kai-sheks of the Dutch. 

The American illusion about the moral nature of the 

40 The Situation in Asia 

colonial relationship is largely an outgrowth of our 
connection with the Philippines. But our relationship 
with the Philippines has been abnormal, not normal, in 
the history of colonial rule. Unlike any colony-owning 
European country, we had our main raw material re- 
sources in our homeland. Neither the moral suasion of 
the Filipinos nor their ability to rebel prevailed on us 
to grant them their independence. The deciding influ- 
ence was the lobbying of American interests which 
wished to exclude Philippine products from America, 
or to diminish and regulate the amount imported by 
applying tariffs and quotas, which could only be done 
if the Philippines were independent. Such a policy 
looked better, of course, when garnished with moral 
arguments in favor of independence, and was therefore 
so presented to the public. 

In European countries that owned colonies the pow- 
erful influences were always those that wished to im- 
port colonial products, or to control them on the 
world market, not those that wished to exclude them. 
Naturally, they have always adorned the policy of 
holding onto colonial rule by laying on themselves the 
"moral obligation" not to grant independence before 
their subjects are "fit" for it. The truth is, therefore, 
that when Americans talk about the moral obligation 
to grant as much independence as possible and to do it 
as soon as possible, and when Europeans talk about the 
moral obligation not to turn their subjects loose pre- 
maturely, they are talking at cross-purposes. No Euro- 
pean country has yet granted independence or any 
degree of self-government to any of its colonial sub- 

Legacy of War 41 

jects except when it was compelled to admit that it was 
no longer able to impose the sanction of force. 

British policy shows how the difference between 
open rebellion and negotiation in advance of open re- 
bellion is determined by the ruling power's estimate of 
its own strength. 

Even India, though not occupied by the Japanese, 
could no longer be treated as a colonial "going con- 
cern." Thousands of Indian war veterans were return- 
ing to India from Africa, Europe, and the Near East 
at the same time that thousands of British war veterans 
wanted nothing except to go home. Nationalist morale 
among Indian servicemen was high. Imperialist morale 
among British servicemen was low. There were no 
Churchills in the uniform of private soldiers. Revolt in 
India had barely been averted during the war. Revolt 
after the war could neither have been prevented by 
force nor put down by force if it had broken out. In 
the case of India and Pakistan the British granted 
dominion status, including the option of full independ- 
ence, because they calculated that if they hung on 
until rebellion broke out, they would lose more than 
if they negotiated in time. By negotiating, they were 
able to salvage a major portion of their economic inter- 
ests, including control over the repayment of their 
own huge sterling debt to India. In the case of Malaya, 
they calculated that if rebellion broke out, they would 
be able to crush it. 

Britain, as the greatest of the colonial empires, also 
illustrates the range of policy from negotiation on a 
footing of full equality to attempted reconquest. In 

42 The Situation in Asia 

India, Pakistan, and Ceylon dominion status was nego- 
tiated, and in Burma full independence. Britain in 
Malaya, however, just as Holland in Indonesia and 
France in Indo-China, has not yet been willing to give 
up as much as will eventually have to be given up. The 
only thing that is yet clear in these countries, from the 
imperial point of view, is that the best that can be 
hoped for is a partially successful salvage operation. 
Some interests may yet be saved. The ruling interest 
itself cannot be saved. 

The fact that Japan did not succeed in China is as 
important as the fact that Japan did succeed in over- 
running all of colonial Asia except India and Ceylon. 
The control over China that Japan failed to make good 
cannot now be asserted by any other country. It is true 
that there are differences of opinion about whether 
Russia might succeed; but there can be no differences 
of opinion about America. Between August 1945 and 
the end of 1948 we spent two billion dollars (unoffi- 
cial estimates run much higher) on an extensive field 
test to demonstrate that America cannot control China. 

American illusions about the scope of power politics 
in China contrast with the American illusion that a 
difference in moral attitude is what distinguishes the 
American policy in the Philippines from the colonial 
policies of European countries. Ever since the defeat 
of Japan, American discussion of the fate of China has 
harped on the idea that China is a field of power which 
should be "preventively" occupied by the United 
States in order to keep Russia out; otherwise, China 
will either have to be divided between America and 

Legacy of War 43 

Russia, or it will be occupied by Russia to the detri- 
ment of America. The truth is that the places that 
China and colonial Asia hold in American thought 
should be reversed. In determining the future of China, 
moral attitude will take precedence over power poli- 
tics. In determining the future of colonial Asia, power 
politics will take precedence over moral attitude. 

In the colonial countries the structure of European 
imperial power proved to be so flimsy when attacked 
by Japan that the question of relative superiority be- 
tween European and Japanese moral attitudes never 
really arose. The question in colonial Asia now is 
whether the nationalist movements have the power to 
get rid of what remains of European power, or 
whether the European countries have enough power 
to hang onto what remains of their rule. When further 
fighting has made it possible to measure power more 
accurately, the question of moral attitudes will come 
to the fore and be decisive; but not until then. 

In China, on the other hand, the long and bloody 
Japanese attempt at conquest proved that Japan did 
not have the kind of power that was able to settle 
Chinese issues. The grandiose and disastrous American 
attempt to determine the character and outcome of the 
Chinese civil war then proved that America does not 
have the kind of power that can settle Chinese issues. 
There remains Russia. It is extremely doubtful that 
Russia, faced with unsettled issues in Europe, could 
invade China with several million men, as Japan did. 
Nor can Russia bring to bear on China the kind of 
power with which America experimented unsuccess- 

44 The Situation in Asia 

fully. The American expenditure of from two to four 
billion dollars included both military and economic aid 
to Chiang Kai-shek. Both forms of aid represented the 
surplus factory output of the most heavily industrial- 
ized country in the world. Russia, and especially 
Asiatic Russia, east of the Urals, does not have that 
kind of surplus; 

Russia therefore cannot use on China either the kind 
of power that was used by Japan or the kind that was 
used by America. There remains only political infiltra- 
tion, or persuasion, which is a moral question. If the 
Russians fail in this approach, there is no reason to be- 
lieve that they can fall back on power politics. There 
is every reason to believe that China is beyond the 
power-politics control of Russia, as it is beyond the 
power-politics coercion of Japan and America. 

The question of the redistribution of power has two 
aspects, one of which is usually overlooked. When a 
country suddenly acquires greatly increased power, 
the fact stands out. Ever since 1945, America and Rus- 
sia have loomed like giants over the world. Beginning 
with 1948, the less obvious aspect of power began to 
play its part in power politics: that aspect is the fact 
that all power, even the greatest, has its limits. In 1949, 
the defining of the limits of power has become the most 
sensitive test of statesmanship. Where runs the line be- 
yond which the expansive power of Russia diminishes 
rapidly? What part of the power formerly held by 
Germany, Japan, Britain, France, and Holland has 
America not inherited? 

Both the redistribution of power and the limits of 

Legacy of War 45 

power stand out clearly on the map. Around and 
across Asia, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, two 
frontiers of power are strung, like two loops of a neck- 
lace. The lower loop is attached at its western end to 
Greece. It runs through Turkey, the Arab states, Iran, 
and Afghanistan; then drops below India to Malaya 
and Indonesia, and up through the Philippines and 
Taiwan (Formosa) to Okinawa and Japan. The upper 
loop runs from the Balkan frontier of Greece along the 
Soviet frontiers of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and 
Sinkiang (Chinese Central Asia). It then drops below 
Mongolia, thus including the Mongolian People's Re- 
public as a Soviet satellite, and around the North- 
eastern Provinces of China (Manchuria) to Korea. 

The lower loop defines what is left of the structure 
of imperial rule and control in Asia. It shows that the 
European powers, and America as their partial heir, 
hold only a doubtful control of territories in Asia. All 
that they really hold is a string of bases around the rim 
of Asia. They have fallen back to the footholds and 
toeholds from which the European marauders and ad- 
venturers of the sixteenth and early seventeenth cen- 
turies began their empire building. Most of the vast 
possessions and spheres of influence that were consoli- 
dated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries have 
been lost. Both Europe and America are on the outside, 
looking in. 

Another fact stares at us from the map. The ruins of 
empire are least shaky where they are anchored at 
points that can be considered primarily as bases, and 
there are very few of these left: Aden, Singapore, 

46 The Situation in Asia 

Hong Kong. Wherever the frontier of power touches 
populated territory, people which means politics 
have become more important than garrisons. Greece is 
a doubtful stronghold. It is a stronghold in which the 
garrison is besieged by the populace. The Arab states 
are not strongholds. Until recently, they had no poli- 
ties except the politics of kings and sheiks who were 
the personal feudatories of Great Britain. Small grants 
from the British Exchequer and small consignments 
of rifles and machine guns were enough to regulate 
their power so that each was strong enough to keep his 
people in subordination while none was strong enough 
to unite an Arab nation. Arab armies were personal 
armies, each bound to its king or emir by tribal, feudal, 
or mercenary loyalty. As of 1949, there is not a single 
Arab army that is not capable of overthrowing its ruler 
and opening a new phase of nationalist politics. 

Iran and Afganistan are not strongholds. In both 
countries, the politics of nationalism, of peoples and 
parties, have already begun to supersede the politics of 
personal and feudal rulers. Pakistan and India are out 
of control. In both countries, Europeans and Ameri- 
cans who have money to invest or goods to sell can 
make deals that are profitable for individuals and cor- 
porations; but neither the British nor the American 
government can line up economic control, still less 
political control, and least of all strategic control. The 
same is true of Burma. Of the old Indian Empire, the 
island of Ceylon alone is likely to remain a control- 
lable satellite for a few years. 

In Malaya, Indonesia, and Indo-China the British, 

Legacy of War 47 

Dutch, and French were once the forerunners of ex- 
panding empire. Now they are fighting rear-guard 
actions in shrinking empires. The Republic of the 
Philippines is not a dependable American satellite. The 
politics of nationalism inside the country are becoming 
dominant over the politics of the personal agents of 
American interests. In less than two years, the military 
installations granted to America when the Philippines 
assumed independence in 1946 will virtually be be- 
sieged strongholds, looking out on a sullen population 
entirely undependable as an instrument of American 
power politics. 

Taiwan, if American policy should make the mis- 
take of trying to protect there a refugee government 
from the mainland of China, will not be a secure base. 
Its people detest the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek 
as the president to whom they appealed in vain to stop 
the plundering of the Kuomintang when China re- 
covered Taiwan from Japanese rule. Even their na- 
tionalist loyalty to China was shaken by the excesses 
and cruelties of the greedy Kuomintang carpetbaggers 
who took over the island: there was a widespread de- 
sire to be taken over as an American protectorate. For 
this very reason, if America were to turn Taiwan into 
a combined base for the American Navy and refuge 
for a Kuomintang government expelled from China, 
anti- American feeling would develop rapidly and there 
would be a new, Communist-tinged nationalism once 
more demanding reunion with China. 

Even Japan is not a secure American base. There are 
too many Japanese. An American dole can keep them 

48 The Situation in Asia 

alive, but not in comfort or dignity. Their permanent 
sources of raw materials and permanent markets lie in 
Asia, not in America or Europe. They must eventually 
come to terms with Asia. If Asia is out of control, and 
America cannot guarantee them access, then there will 
be an inevitable demand that Japan break away from 
America in order to come to terms with Asia. This de- 
mand will begin to show itself clearly in Japanese poli- 
tics in 1949, and will develop with disconcerting rapid- 
ity in the next year or two. 

In contrast with the shaky southern frontier around 
Asia, the Soviet frontier across Asia is firm. It is cer- 
tainly not a retreating frontier. What troubles the for- 
eign offices and strategic planners of Europe and 
America is the possibility that it may be an advancing 

It is a mistake to try to answer this question by look- 
ing only at the map of Asia. The frontiers of Russian 
power have expanded up to the ruins of empire in Eu- 
rope as well as in Asia. Hitler's empire in Europe was 
not called colonial, but it was colonial in fact. His 
colonies lay in Eastern Europe, the valley of the Dan- 
ube, and the Balkans. His subject peoples functioned 
like the subjects of any colonial empire in Africa or 
Asia. In standard of living and social and political status 
they were classified below the Germans. Some of them 
were recruited as troops, but only as auxiliary troops. 
They suffered the casualties of battle, but the Germans 
took the rewards of victory, as long as victories con- 
tinued. In their "colonial" territories in Eastern Europe 
the Germans, as did the British in India, manipulated 

Legacy of War 49 

the economic exchange. In the main, Eastern Europe 
produced food and raw materials for Germany and got 
machinery and consumer goods from Germany. In- 
dustrialization was carefully watched, and kept subor- 
dinate to the key processes of industry in Germany. 

In the postwar redistribution of world power, there- 
fore, in Europe as in Asia, the Russian expansion ex- 
tends into the colonial domains of defeated, weakened, 
or retreating empires, while American expansion has 
resulted in hegemony over the industrial and highly 
developed centers which formerly controlled empires. 
In defining the limits of power, America faces the fact 
that it is enormously expensive to reconstruct highly 
developed economic structures which were originally 
adapted to the intake of colonial economic tribute. 
The risky and makeshift aspect of Marshall Plan eco- 
nomics is that, of necessity, one of its activities is to 
supply European countries, at high dollar cost which 
they cannot control, with the kinds of raw material 
which they used to obtain from their colonial posses- 
sions at low costs in currencies which they themselves 
controlled. America has been finding out that the rump 
of an empire, without the body of its imperial posses- 
sions, makes a defective instrument of power. 

Russia, on the other hand, has been finding out that 
there are also limits to its new expansion of power 
which, though geographically vast, represents prin- 
cipally access to the colonial possessions of dismem- 
bered empires without their power-centers of highly 
developed industry and technology. The Russian 
economy is not so constructed that it can take over 

50 The Situation in Asia 

the possessions of other empires and exploit them as 
other empires did. Its new power, therefore, does not 
mean the transfer to Russia of either the exact quanti- 
ties or the exact kinds of power that other empires had. 
America, which suffered no devastation in the war, 
had a steel production, in 1948, of almost 90,000,000 
tons. Russian steel production for the same year was 
estimated at under 20,000,000 tons; and a high propor- 
tion of this cannot be allocated to the development of 
marginal or satellite territories, because it must go into 
the repair of the terrible war devastation that Russia 

Comparison between the Russian and the American 
situation shows that Russia has acquired control of, or 
access to, enormous exploitable areas, but has not taken 
over, from those who formerly exploited them, the 
same kind of ability to exploit. America has acquired 
an immensely increased ability to exploit, but has ac- 
cess to a far smaller total territory to exploit than did 
the great empires whose power has so largely passed 
into American hands. 

This comparison indicates that there is a third quo- 
tient of power to be considered: that which was once 
enjoyed by the great powers not only in their own 
colonial possessions but in countries like China and the 
countries of Eastern Europe, but has not yet passed 
into the hands of either America or Russia, and instead 
of passing into their hands may remain in the posses- 
sion of peoples once subject or subordinate. This third 
quotient of power is something that has much more 
vigor than the vague and listless "third force" of Eu- 

Legacy of War 51 

rope. The third force in Europe is led by a hesitant and 
dwindling fraction of the middle class and leads a har- 
ried life between the revival of big business interests 
which always put money above patriotism, and the 
growth of a tough, proletarian, class-conscious, and 
aggressive Communism and left-wing socialism that is 
not so much disloyal to old standards of patriotism as 
utterly contemptuous of them. The "third quotient" 
of power is an utterly different phenomenon. It is a 
heritage that has fallen to whole peoples, rather than 
to classes. These peoples are infused with a vigorous 
nationalist loyalty that the upper classes of Western 
Europe no longer have and the proletariat of West- 
ern Europe does not want; because throughout 
Western Europe international class loyalties have 
either superseded old national loyalties or are fast 
superseding them. 

There is a field for the political development of the 
third quotient of power in Eastern Europe. There is 
another in Latin America. There will be a third in 
Africa, as nationalism begins to evolve there. But the 
main field lies in Asia: in that part of Asia between the 
Soviet land frontier and the rim of coastal and island 
bases held by America and the European powers, 
which according to old strategic standards and political 
conventions is out of control. It is in this field that 
there is a new chapter in the history of nationalism and 
revolution to be studied. 



IN AN Asia that is out of control two forces are at 
work nationalism and revolution. Of these two, na- 
tionalism is the more elemental force. To a large ex- 
tent, nationalism is "revolutionary" simply because the 
change is from subjection to independence and from 
arbitrary government by imposed authority to forms 
of government that are made possible only by "the 
consent of the governed" and at least the crude begin- 
nings of representative government. For Asia, these 
changes are so sudden and so great that they exceed the 
pace of evolution and can only be called revolutionary* 
The policies in Asia of powers that stand outside of 
Asia can no longer control these developments, but 
they can still influence them. Since these limitations 
apply to Russian policy as well as to American policy 
and to the policies of the European empires, the fact 
that the changes being brought about by nationalism 
in Asia are of necessity revolutionary does not mean 
that, in passing out of the control of America and 
Europe, they have passed wholly under the control of 
Russia. What we do have to contend with, however, is 
the fact that the Russians are professional revolution- 

Nationalism and Revolution 53 

aries. Unless we can learn to match the Russians in 
professional skill in the art of influencing revolutions 
which we cannot control, the advantage will lie with 

Russian policy throughout the world consists of 
something more than agile, catlike pounces on oppor- 
tune mice that happen to pop out of decaying political 
structures. It is based on a formidable combination of 
the Communist theory of how history unfolds, phase 
by phase, and those methods which the existing re- 
sources of the Soviet state enable it to use whenever a 
theoretical phase has ceased to be theoretical and has 
become an actual situation. 

In Communist theory, human history is an unceas- 
ing conflict of social classes, in which a double process 
of growth and decay is always going on. The ruling 
class, even when it appears to be in complete control, 
carries within itself the seeds of decay. Some other 
class is gathering strength and growing, and will even- 
tually overthrow it. "Revolution" is what happens 
when the growing class shoulders the decaying class 
aside and takes its place. "Progress" is a relative con- 
cept. In the history of society, feudalism is considered 
"progressive" relative to slave-owning, but "reaction- 
ary" relative to the capitalism that eventually displaced 
feudalism. It is this kind of historical relativity that 
enables the Russians to exalt a dead Peter the Great, 
though they would regard a live one with horror. 

According to this theory, to be "progressive" in 
politics means to be on the side of that which is com- 
ing up and against that which is going down. "A rising 

54 The Situation in Asia 

class, though yet relatively weak, is a better bet politi- 
cally than one which has had its rise and, though still 
relatively powerful, is beginning to decline. Hence, 
according to Stalin, the Marxists were right in basing 
their policy on the proletariat even in Russia in the 
1880's, because it was evolving as a class, while the 
peasantry, though in the enormous majority, was de- 
clining as a class." x 

The Soviet method, following this Communist the- 
ory, is to go into action whenever it looks as though a 
"step forward" can be taken. A step forward, accord- 
ing to this combination of theory and method, is al- 
ways a step forward, even when it does not reach all 
the way to control of the state by Communists. In the 
1920's Russia was delighted to help Sun Yat-sen in 
China, even though Sun Yat-sen specifically made the 
reservation that "the communistic order, or even the 
Soviet system, cannot actually be introduced into 
China because there do not exist the conditions for 
the successful establishment of either communism or 
Sovietism." From the Russian point of view, anything 
that Sun Yat-sen could do to weaken the hold of the 
foreign powers over China, and the war lords within 
China, was "progressive." 

When Chiang Kai-shek turned against the Com- 
munists and started a civil war to exterminate them, the 

1 Quoted from an article by "Historicus" on "Stalin on 
Revolution," in Foreign Affairs, New York, January 1949. 
This article brings together the most valuable original cita- 
tions published in America for many years to illustrate the 
Soviet theory of opportunity and action. 

Nationalism and Revolution 55 

Russians were of course disappointed. But this defeat 
they regarded as only a relative defeat. In spite of their 
virulent propaganda against him, they recognized that 
Chiang Kai-shek's government was better able to de- 
fend China against encroachment than the war-lord 
governments that preceded it. Therefore when he be- 
gan to resist Japan, they gave him arms not because 
they liked him, but because they themselves feared 
Japan. The help given him before Russia itself was in- 
vaded in 1941 was greater than the help from either 
America or Britain before Pearl Harbor. When, dur- 
ing the war, Chiang's troops clashed with those of the 
Chinese Communists, the Russians turned their propa- 
ganda against him in reproof (just as the American 
press also reacted in alarm) ; but even in these crises 
they made no effort to supply arms to the Chinese 

Stalin quotes from Lenin a "fundamental law of 
revolution" indicating the point at which a theoretical 
phase becomes an actual situation, in which the Soviet 
state can go into action, using whatever methods are 
practical at the time. This definition is so close to being 
a description of Asia today, out of the control or slip- 
ping out of the control both of the old empires and of 
America's vast postwar expansion of power, that it 
must give the men in the Kremlin the feeling of know- 
ing exactly what is happening: 

For revolution it is not enough that the exploited and 
oppressed masses should feel the impossibility of living in 
the old way and demand change; for revolution it is nec- 
essary that the exploiters should not be able to live and 

56 The Situation in Asia 

rule in the old way. Only when the "lower classes" do 
not want the old way and when the "upper classes" can- 
not carry on in the old 'way only then can revolution 
conquer. 2 

We even have Stalin's own formula, written down 
in 1921 but first published only in 1947, defining "the 
arrival of the moment for revolutionary outbreaks." 
While the Lenin definition reads like an accurate 
prophecy of an Asia out of control, the Stalin formula 
is so electrifyingly exact a description of the situation 
in China that it should be studied with cautious respect 
both in analyzing the present debacle of American 
policy in China and in attempting to forecast future 
relations between China and Russia. The opportunity, 
says Stalin, comes: 

When the revolutionary mood of the masses . . . 
brims over and our slogans for action and directives lag 
behind the movement of the masses. . . . When uncer- 
tainty and confusion, disintegration and dissolution in the 
adversary's camp have reached the highest point . . . 
when the so-called neutral elements, all that mass of many 
millions of city and village petty bourgeoisie, begin defi- 
nitely to turn away from the adversary . . . and seeks 
alliance with the proletariat. 8 

When Russians read this kind of statement, they are 
convinced of the foresight and wisdom of their leaders. 
They have the feeling that their country and their 
cause are going forward on the tide of history. Ameri- 

2 "Historieus," quoting Stalin's quotation of Lenin, in the 
article in Foreign Affairs already cited. Italics in original. 

Nationalism and Revolution 57 

cans, on the other hand, should not overlook a very 
interesting point: Russians and Communists cannot 
prove that these theories are right. Only we can prove 
that. Only we can "prove" that the society which 
claims the freedoms that we claim has lost its political 
know-how, can no longer "carry on in the old way," 
and has lost the knack of guiding change and growth 
into evolutionary, democratic channels. 

These glimpses into the way in which Soviet policy 
correlates its methods of exploiting opportunities with 
its theory of how opportunities come about are enough 
to show, however, that those who plan and carry out 
American policy will fall into a trap if they think that 
what is required of them is a decision between "Eu- 
rope first' 7 and "Asia first." In 1946, 1947, and 1948 
Europe fitted the combined specifications of the Com- 
munist theory of what constitutes an opportunity and 
the methods available to the Soviet state for exploiting 
an opportunity better than Asia. In 1949 Asia fits the 
specifications better than Europe. But both then and 
now the situations in Europe and in Asia have never 
ceased to interact on each other. 

What was falling from 1946 to 1948 was the old 
system of German imperial domination over Eastern 
Europe. America, Britain, and France were able to 
stop Russia from taking over Germany in addition to 
Germany's old "colonial" empire because the expan- 
sion of American power more than matched the ex- 
pansion of Russian power. But they were unable to 
take over control to their own satisfaction, because the 
weakening of empire in Asia and to some extent in 

58 The Situation in Asia 

Africa was causing "confusion, disintegration and 
dissolution" in Western Europe. What has already 
fallen or is still falling in 1949 is the system of empire 
in Asia; and what is baffling American policy is the 
fact that Marshall Plan blood transfusions to Western 
Europe are bleeding away from the wounds of colonial 
warfare in Asia. 

To recover our balance, we must abandon the fan- 
tastic theory of "concentration of forces" which at- 
tempts to deal alternatingly with Europe and Asia. We 
must deal with the continuing interaction between 
them, which is a fact, not a theory. And we must not 
make the mistake of thinking that when we have de- 
fined a state or a people as "independent," "depend- 
ent," "subject," or "satellite," we have made our 
definitions precise enough. We must realize that both 
in Europe and in Asia the society within every state 
with which we deal is going through important 
changes. As the society within the state becomes a dif- 
ferent kind of society, the state itself becomes a 
different kind of state. We can influence most of these 
changes. Not one of them can we stop. We must 
match the Russians in the realism with which we ana- 
lyze what is happening in each process of change, and 
we must chasten the feeling of unlimited power with 
which we came out of the war. There are limits to our 
power. When power is limited, successful policy con- 
sists in doing what you can do in each situation, not 
in trying to do exactly what you would like to do, 
when you do not have what it takes. 

For the average American, the brief est summary of 

Nationalism and Revolution 59 

the outcome of the Second World War is that Ger- 
many and Japan were defeated. The average man in 
Asia cannot sum up the war so tersely. For him, some 
of the things that happened in the course of the war 
were as important as its final outcome. The fact that 
Japan, before being defeated, destroyed the old in- 
ternational balance of power and the structure of 
European imperial control throughout the Far East is 
as important for him as the fact that Japan was finally 

For the peoples of colonial Asia, therefore, the end 
of the war meant that a supreme effort had yet to be 
made: an effort to set up quickly political structures 
that would take the place of the imperial control that 
Japan had destroyed, and prevent the return of their 
imperial rulers. For the people of China, there was a 
different but comparable challenge. Most of the "un- 
equal treaties" had been abrogated before the end of 
the war, and the rest were abrogated soon after; but 
representative government had still to be won. The 
Kuomintang had been ruling them under the system 
which it called "tutelage," under which the Party ap- 
pointed both national and local officials. Theoretically, 
the people were to be trained for representative self- 
government during the "period of tutelage"; but in 
fact the dictatorship of the Kuomintang had hardened. 
Had all Chinese waited meekly while the Kuomintang 
took back the territories held by the Japanese during 
the war, the dictatorship would have been in a condi- 
tion to continue indefinitely. It was for this reason 
that American support of the Kuomintang govern- 

60 The Situation in Asia 

ment, purely on the grounds of "legitimacy," and with- 
out reference to the internal demand for the right to 
elect representatives to replace appointed Kuomintang 
officials, encouraged the suspicion of an indirect Amer- 
ican control associated with the dictatorship of the 
Kuomintang. It was also for this reason that the Chinese 
Communists entered postwar politics as supporters of 
widely popular demands for regional rights and self- 
government through elected representatives. 

In seizing the end of the war as an opportunity to 
prevent the return of old forms of government or the 
continuance of old forms of domination, the peoples 
of Asia resembled the peoples of Eastern Europe and 
the Balkans, whose primary concerns were to prevent 
both the restoration of Germany's imperial ascendancy 
over them and the transfer to other hands of Ger- 
many's old power to treat them politically and eco- 
nomically as a colonial domain. In this respect both 
Asia and Eastern Europe differed from Western 
Europe, where governments and voting majorities of 
citizens saw in the end of the war not opportunities 
but problems problems in retaining or restoring as 
much as they could of their former advantages as the 
rulers of great empires. 

In both Asia and Eastern Europe action was im- 
possible especially the swift action that alone could 
be effective unless the motives for action were a 
mixture of nationalism and revolution. The propor- 
tions of the mixture differed between Eastern Europe 
and Asia, and between different countries in each 
region. The main difference was that there was more 

Nationalism and Revolution 61 

revolution in Eastern Europe and more nationalism in 
Asia. Unless the nature of this difference is clearly 
understood, very misleading analogies can be drawn 
between the Russian and Communist influences in the 
two regions. 

In Eastern Europe, the victory over the Germans 
was won mainly by the Russians, and could not have 
been won without the Russians. Some of the Eastern 
European governments had been on the side of the 
Germans. Every one of them, with the exception of 
the government of Czechoslovakia, had been fascist or 
semi-fascist. In every single country, including Czech- 
oslovakia, there had been important people mostly 
factory owners, businessmen, and the larger land- 
holderswho had collaborated with the Germans. 

Nationalism, in such countries, meant getting rid 
of such people. To get rid of the menace which they 
embodied it was- not enough to execute the most prom- 
inent individuals, or imprison them, or bar them from 
public office. They were a menace because they and 
the part of the society of Eastern Europe that they 
represented were built into the long-existing structure 
of the "colonial" relationship between Eastern Europe 
and Germany a Germany which had been even 
more imperialistic under Hitler than it had been under 
the Hohenzollerns. Their forms of property and their 
economic functions within their own societies were 
part of the colonial mechanism by which Germany 
extracted raw materials from Eastern Europe, organ- 
ized cartels to control the markets for factory-pro- 
duced goods, and kept local industries and bankers 

62 The Situation in Asia 

subordinate to the industries and bankers of Germany. 

This problem generated a friction within the socie- 
ties of Eastern Europe which in turn generated the 
fire of revolution. If collaborating individuals were 
punished, but their property and the economic func- 
tions that went with the property were left in the 
possession of their families and the social groups which 
they represented, then the next generation would pro- 
duce individuals with the same economic motivations 
and political leanings. It was for this reason that social- 
ists as well as Communists, and militant nationalists who 
were neither socialists nor Communists, were in favor 
of going beyond the punishment of individuals and 
confiscating all forms of property that, in economic 
function, had been useful in subordinating their coun- 
tries to Germany. 

With the jnevitableness of a Greek tragedy, in 
which both the players and the spectators know what 
is going on but nobody can stop it, the doom of the 
propertied classes in Eastern Europe poisoned all at- 
tempts to reach a cordial political understanding be- 
tween the Western democracies and the "new democ- 
racies." In Western Europe, reconstruction meant just 
that the reconstruction of as much as possible of 
what Germany had damaged or destroyed. In Eastern 
Europe reconstruction meant the building of a new 
structure, eliminating everything that had served sub- 
ordination to Germany and, in the larger sense, the 
colonial inferiority of Eastern Europe to Western 
Europe, Inexorably, this difference between restoring 
as much as possible of what had existed before and re- 

Nationalism and Revolution 63 

fusing to restore a key relationship that had existed 
before drove Western Europe into an increasingly 
dependent alliance with America and Eastern Europe 
into an increasingly dependent alliance with Soviet 

We distort this picture of what really happened 
when we let ourselves be influenced too much either 
by the Russian and pro-Russian account of how 
"American imperialism" is reaching out to dominate 
Western Europe or by the anti-Russian account of 
how "Russian imperialism" has "annexed" Eastern 
Europe. There has been an expansion of American 
power; but there has also been Western Europe's own 
retreat into the arms of America. There has been an ex- 
pansion of Russian power; but there has also been 
Eastern Europe's own retreat into the arms of Russia. 
(The striking exception, Yugoslavia's refusal to join 
this retreat, will be discussed in the next chapter.) 

The relationship between Asia and Europe helps to 
explain how politics works in Western Europe. 
Though Western Europe shared in the defeat of Ger- 
many, it did not succeed as it had after the First 
World War, under the Versailles treaties and the 
Danube Convention of 1921 in staking out a claim 
to a share of Germany's imperial overlordship in East- 
ern Europe. In Asia, on the other hand, Western 
Europe retains footholds; and though they are only 
footholds, they are immensely valuable. In addition, 
Western Europe still holds colonial possessions in 
Africa that are many times greater than Europe itself. 

Because of Asia and Africa the countries of Western 

64 The Situation in Asia 

Europe, though they are democratic in their internal 
structure, are imperial in their over-all structure. The 
imperial ownership of one people by another is a direct 
negation of democracy; and Western Europe's un- 
democratic imperial relationship to its subject peoples 
affects even the way in which democracy works at 
home. The survival of empire is what explains the 
strength of right-wing socialism and trade-unionism in 
Britain, France, Holland, and Belgium. Empires exist 
only because the owning country and people make a 
profit out of the peoples that are owned. Full em- 
ployment and good wages in an imperial country de- 
pend on the profits taken out of colonies. In an imperial 
country even the labor movement and political parties 
that depend on labor votes want to negotiate the inde- 
pendence of colonial peoples on terms that guarantee 
them an economic compensation, and a gradual transi- 
tion that eases the adjustment of changes in industry 
and employment. Because they want this kind of pro- 
tection for themselves, the right-wing socialists and 
trade-unionists of Western Europe are willing to vote 
for the principle of compensating the owners of nation- 
alized industries. In this way the "bourgeois" and "pro- 
letarian" votes of Western Europe combine to support 
the principle that postwar reconstruction should begin 
by restoring, in the main, the structure and the system 
that existed before Hitler, and should move only 
slowly and cautiously toward the substitution of any- 
thing new. 

In Asia there is no cleavage that corresponds to the 
cleavage between Eastern and Western Europe. Asia 

Nationalism and Revolution 65 

cannot be divided, like Europe, into countries that 
have their own colonial subjects and countries that do 
not. All countries in Asia except Turkey in the 1920's 
are, or recently have been, either the subjects of a 
foreign power or, like China and Siam, so dominated 
by foreign interests that their status was semi-colonial 
or quasi-colonial. Even Japan, once the most ruthless 
of all empires, is now an occupied country and eco- 
nomically lives on an American dole because it has 
been deprived of its colonial possessions. 

It is true that every nation in Asia, except Korea, 
Japan, and Mongolia, has important internal minority 
problems. The biggest and most important problems of 
this kind are in China and India. China has to solve 
problems of internal imperialism in its relations with 
the Mongols of Inner Mongolia, the Chinese Moslems, 
the Uighurs and other peoples of Sinkiang, the Tibet- 
ans, and the tribes of Southwest China. But the nation- 
alism of these peoples wants exactly what the nation- 
alism of China itself wants, and therefore the problem 
can be solved by granting autonomy to the minorities, 
followed by federalization on an equality with the 

Throughout Asia, therefore, the primary phenom- 
enon is nationalism the demand for complete in- 
dependence. The achievement of independence is 
inevitably accompanied by some degree of social trans- 
formation in each country; but this revolutionary 
transformation is not so drastic as in Europe. 

The subservience of the Czech or Hungarian 
banker to German bankers, and sometimes to French 

66 The Situation in Asia 

or British bankers, was all too often a willing sub- 
servience. He made bigger profits by such associations 
than if he attempted to remain independent. All too 
often, if the preservation of this kind of interest de- 
manded that he work politically for the subordination 
of his country, he was willing to do so. The Chinese or 
Indian banker was also subservient to foreign bankers; 
but not willingly. Modern banking in these countries 
began with the foreigner. Britain ruled India, and 
European and American bankers in China were so 
completely beyond the control of the Chinese govern- 
ment that they were able to issue their own paper cur- 
rency. Foreign bankers in China paid no taxes, and 
their influence over the Chinese government was so 
great that it could be said that instead of suffering from 
taxation without representation, they had the astonish- 
ing privilege of representation without taxation. Chi- 
nese and Indian bankers had to fight their way into the 
market in their own countries. They could increase 
their profits better by winning full independence than 
by remaining subservient. Since they could win full 
independence as bankers only if their country won 
true independence as a nation, they financed nationalist 
movements and made alliances even with left-wingers. 
In Asia, in the social transformation that accom- 
panies the achievement of national independence, the 
bitterest struggle has not been between capitalists and 
the proletariat but between feudal landholders and the 
peasantry, A word of explanation is needed here. The 
word "feudal" is used so loosely that it causes a great 
deal of unnecessary confusion. Particularly as Marx- 

Nationalism and Revolution 67 

Ists use it, it has tended to become a general term of 
abuse instead of a precise term of description. 

Feudal land tenure in Asia is a noncapitalistic way 
of owning and using land. In a progressive and creative 
capitalism, capital works. It makes things. It also 
grows crops, on farms, in ways that would not be pos- 
sible without the investment of capital. In typical, 
capitalistic American farming the capital that goes into 
machinery, fertilizers, seed selection, and every step 
that improves farming is as important as the capital 
that goes into the purchase of land. In the typical 
farming of Asia, possession of the land is what counts. 
The landlord uses his possession of the land simply 
to force peasants to bid against each other for the 
opportunity to cultivate it. If a tenant has been de- 
livering 60 per cent of tfie crop to the landlord he can 
be evicted if another peasant off ers to deliver 70 per 
cent. There are, of course, many variations of this 
theme. There are millions of peasant families in Asia 
that own a little bit of land often in several tiny 
pieces, two or three miles from each other but not 
enough to live on, so that they have to rent additional 
land from a landlord, as share croppers. If such a 
family falls behind on its deliveries, it may have to 
mortgage its own land to the landlord. Frequently the 
landlord forecloses on this mortgage; which means 
that he adds to his holding of land without paying a 
cent for it in cash. 

A feudal society splits up in rivalries among the 
privileged landholders unless there is an overlord 
strong enough both to regulate these rivalries and to 

68 The Situation in Asia 

enforce the right of the individual landholder to col- 
lect his tribute from the peasant. This overlordship 
was formerly provided by the old despotic empires of 
Asia itself. In ruling their subjects in Asia, the Euro- 
pean empires took over this function. The peasant 
became the subject both of his landholder and of the 
foreign ruler; the landholder was the subject of the 
foreign ruler in some respects, but his ally in others. 
He was loyal to the foreign ruler to the exact degree 
that the form of rule protected his kind of property; 
and since his kind of property was the last that the 
foreign ruler ceased to be able to protect, he remained 
loyal to imperialist rule long after other groups in 
colonial societies had turned nationalist. 

Peasants respond to the same law of self-interest. 
Throughout Asia, peasants become loyal to nationalist 
parties, and later on to nationalist governments, in pro- 
portion to the willingness of the nationalists to loosen 
the landlord's grip on them. To the extent that the 
new government favors and protects the kind of 
ownership of land that they want, they consider it 
"their" government and support it. The identification 
between loyalty to the government and devotion to 
one's own kind of property is a political law that is 
valid even in Soviet Russia. Divided loyalties weak- 
ened Russia most in the terrible and bloody struggle 
over collectivization, a thinly disguised civil war in 
which land was taken from the rich peasants and given 
to poor peasants, not individually but as members of 
collective farms. Since then, a new kind of loyalty has 
gradually solidified as more and more Soviet peasants 

Nationalism and Revolution 69 

in the Ukraine, Russia, Siberia, and Soviet Asia have 
come to feel that their individual shares in collective 
farms represent a kind of ownership more valuable to 
them than the old private ownership under which they 
were unable to own or even hire machines. 

In the general pattern of society in Asia, the propor- 
tion of peasants varies a little from country to country, 
but the average is about 80 per cent. The modern mid- 
dle class, which has grown up under Western rule or 
Western influence, is small in numbers. Though both 
this middle class and the landlords are property- 
minded, there is no inevitable political alliance between 
them, because they own different kinds of property 
and use their property in different ways. The land- 
lord has a pre-modern mind. He thinks of his land as 
conferring a privilege on him; he uses this privilege to 
collect tribute from his tenant. The man of the modern 
middle class banker, industrialist, professional man, 
white collar worker has a modern, cost-accounting 
mind. He thinks of investment and interest, salaries and 
savings, and money rather than land as the unit of 
wealth in much the same way as the same kind of man 
in Western countries. Unlike the landlord, he does not 
willingly accept a foreign ruler; because the foreign 
ruler, who keeps the landlord in business, keeps the 
colonial banker and industrialist either out of business 
or in the lower, less profitable ranks of business. 

Politics in Asia is an equation in which there is one 
constant, and a number of variables. The constant 
factor is the antagonism of the peasant to the land- 
lord. Because he fears the demands of the peasants, the 

70 The Situation in Asia 

landlord Is the last to give up his loyalty to a foreign 
ruler who is no longer able to rule, and the first to 
make terms as in Indonesia now with a foreign 
ruler who looks as though he might be on his way 
back to power. The middle class, with its interest in 
capitalism, is the most changeable. It can be either ex- 
tremely conservative or astonishingly radical. Before 
liberation, it will ally itself with radical movements 
against imperialism. After liberation, it may ally itself 
with the landlords, in an alliance of the haves against 
the have-nots, or it may put up a fight against the land- 
lords for the control of the country as a whole. 

In India under British rule the princes of the Native 
States, whose power was of a feudal kind, were both 
the subjects and the allies of the British. In the Union 
of India, whose government is controlled by an al- 
liance between Nehru, a socialist, and Patel, the or- 
ganizer of the business interests, the most important 
privileges of the princes were promptly taken away 
by a combination of negotiation and pressure; armed 
action was needed to bring under control Hyderabad, 
the greatest of the principalities. 

In China, there have been combinations and re- 
combinations. Twenty-five years ago, the main drive 
of nationalism was against the Unequal Treaties, which 
protected the rights and privileges won by a number 
of foreign nations in the great age of imperialism in 
the second half of the nineteenth century. Chinese 
bankers and industrialists, unable to compete effec- 
tively in their own country against treaty-protected 
foreigners, suffered more from the effects of the 
treaties than did the landlords. Among the followers 

Nationalism and Revolution 71 

of Sun Yat-sen, it was they who agreed to bring the 
peasants and industrial workers into the Kuomintang, 
even though it meant working with the Chinese Com- 
munists, Russian advisors, and a number of other 
foreign Communists sent by the Third International. 

When, after the death of Sun Yat-sen, the nation- 
alist elan of the peasant armies carried the Kuomin- 
tang to the Yangtze and Shanghai, the great powers, 
led by Britain, were ready to negotiate a deal with 
Chinese nationalism rather than risk the immediate 
loss of all their privileges. The deal involved smashing 
the political organizations of the peasants and the in- 
dustrial workers, and therefore an alliance between the 
landlords and the bankers and industrialists. The key 
figure in the deal was Chiang Kai-shek, because he had 
at one time been a businessman and broker in Shanghai 
and had business contacts in Shanghai, Canton, and 
among the wealthy overseas Chinese in Malaya, while 
his contacts in the army were with officers who came 
from landlord families. 

In the 1930's, Japan was encroaching on China. 
Chiang Kai-shek continued his civil war against the 
Communists, claiming that until he had completely 
destroyed them China would be in no condition to 
face Japan. The capitalists of China grew increasingly 
uneasy. Their interests were on the coast, and suf- 
fered from Japan's increasing control of trade. They 
responded, to a degree that would surprise American 
capitalists, to the Communist demand for a cessation 
of civil war and a united front against Japan. The 
landlords, on the other hand, feared the peasants more 
than Japan and insisted on continuing the civil war. 

72 The Situation in Asia 

The fact that Chiang continued the civil war showed 
that even then his position was more dependent on 
landlord than on capitalist support. In addition he cal- 
culated quite correctly, and more accurately than 
American experts that Japan's continuing aggression 
would bring on war with America; though the war 
did not come as soon as he hoped, and of course Ameri- 
ca's inability to crush Japan at once, after the Pearl 
Harbor disaster, was an unforeseen and dismaying dis- 

War between China and Japan was finally forced 
by* the spontaneous resistance of rank-and-file Chinese 
troops in North China. The resistance was so ex- 
tensive, and the outburst of nationalist fervor that 
responded to it so overwhelming, that the government 
was carried along. 

As soon as Shanghai, Hankow, and Canton were lost 
the most important Chinese capitalists lost the sources 
of their wealth and therefore their political power. 
The "free China" of the Kuomintang was dominated 
by landlord interests, which dictated a "standstill" 
war, waiting for America to defeat Japan and for 
American support against the Communists. Guerrilla 
China was dominated by Communist-led peasants. The 
need for keeping their leadership dictated for the Com- 
munists an active war and the steady organization of 
the kind of landownership and village self-government 
demanded by the peasants. 

The end of the wax showed the complete ascend- 
ancy of the landlords in the Kuomintang. Business and 
industry in great cities like Shanghai, instead of being 
returned to private capitalists, were placed under gov- 

Nationalism and Revolution 73 

emment monopolies. The Chinese Communist term 
for this system is "bureaucratic monopoly," which is 
somewhat misleading. It is essentially an attempt to 
bring modern economic activities under feudal con- 
trol. The feudal mind, instead of thinking in terms of 
cost accounting and rational management, wants the 
kind of privilege that gives the right to collect tribute, 
regardless of cost and not in return for services ren- 
dered. A textile industry, to take an example of a mo- 
nopoly under feudal control, is not regarded as a ra- 
tional operation. It is a position of advantage in which 
to place sons, nephews, and in-laws. If they can make 
money faster by selling cotton on the black market 
than by weaving it into cloth, supplying the consumer 
market, lowering prices, and stabilizing economic con- 
ditions, that is regarded as businesslike enough. 

One of the grand American delusions has been the 
idea that supporting people who have this feudal con- 
ception of the nature of property and the rights of the 
individual is somehow the same thing as "supporting 
capitalism." We fumble in such things partly because 
we have had practically no experience of feudalism in 
the United States; but everywhere in Europe, where 
capitalism replaced feudalism, it did so by confiscating 
feudal property and turning it into capitalist property. 
Thereafter, the capitalists survived or failed individu- 
ally, according to their ability to think in cost-ac- 
counting values and to make money out of either 
goods supplied or services rendered. 

In China, the American inability to distinguish be- 
tween feudalism and capitalism drove Chinese cap- 
italists, managers, and technicians frantic. American 

74 The Situation In Asm 

policy, not Communist propaganda, convinced them 
first that they could not do business with Chiang and 
finally that they could perhaps do business with the 
Communists. In the final debacle, they began to go over 
to the Communists, in exactly the manner called for by 
the Stalin prescription already quoted: "when the so- 
called neutral elements, all that mass of many millions 
of city and village petty bourgeoisie, begin definitely 
to turn away from the adversary . . . and seeks al- 
liance with the proletariat." The American improve- 
ment on the prescription was to add a good many 
really big and important capitalists to the "petty bour- 

We are learning that there are societies within which 
we cannot stop the processes of change. If we admit 
that we cannot stop change, can we discover ways in 
which we can influence change so that it will be more 
in our favor? We are learning that there are limits to 
our power. If we admit that, then where is there a 
line that is within the limits of our power to which we 
can withdraw and from which we can operate effec- 

The first step toward finding an answer to these 
questions is to find the line marking the limit of Rus- 
sian power. When we have found that line, we shall 
find that there is a big geographical gap, including 
most of Asia, between the limit of our power and the 
limit of Russian power. We shall then find that the 
problem of policy is how to deal best from our side 
with this area that is out of control, while the Russians 
deal with it as best they can from their side. 



IN THE affairs of Asia, the United States is on the out- 
side, looking in. The great imperial countries of 
Europe are on the doorstep, trying not to be pushed 
off. Russia is on the inside, looking out. Russia has not 
only a land frontier of actual contact with Asia, but a 
frontier running through Asia. From Korea on the 
Yellow Sea to Turkey on the Black Sea, it is the longest 
frontier in the world. Many sectors of it are not held 
by Russians on one side, facing various peoples of Asia 
on the other, but by Asians who form part of the 
federal Soviet state facing Asians who live under 
various kinds of governments, many of them hostile 
to the Soviet system. 

On most sectors of the frontier the line separates 
politically peoples who, in spite of differences in the 
form of government, are really one and the same 
people in language, historical tradition, and other cul- 
tural characteristics. The same languages and dialects 
are spoken on both sides of the Soviet-Turkish fron- 
tier. Soviet Azerbaijan fronts on Iranian Azerbaijan. 
The Soviet- Afghan frontier separates similar peoples. 
The Kirghiz and Kazakhs of Soviet territory are ex- 

76 The Situation in Asia 

actly the same peoples as the Kirghiz and Kazakhs of 
Chinese Sinkiang. The Soviet Buryat-Mongols have a 
common frontier with the Outer Mongolian People's 

The Soviet frontier in Asia therefore has a peculiar 
political sensitiveness. When a people who are one 
people are divided by a political frontier, loyalties con- 
flict. The two governments may be hostile to each 
other while most of the people on both sides of the 
line are friendly to each other. In such cases, each 
of the two governments always has to deal with the 
fact that some of the people on its side of the line 
would prefer to live under the government on the 
other side of the line, or to make their own govern- 
ment like the government on the other side. One of 
the two governments may be bothered by only a small 
number of discontented or dissident people, while for 
the other the problem is of major importance. It is 
easy to exploit such a situation by propaganda. What 
each government has to say about the other, however, 
is not what creates the situation. Basically, the situation 
is created by what each government does to or for its 
own people. 

Iranian Azerbaijan illustrates how this relationship 
works. During the war, Russia occupied the north of 
Iran while Britain occupied the south. After the war, 
Russia refused to withdraw. (The British withdrew, 
but kept their political influence alive by paying sub- 
sidies to tribal chieftains in South Iran.) In 1946 the 
Russians withdrew, under strong United Nations pres- 
sure led by the United States; but an "autonomous" 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 77 

regime in Iranian Azerbaijan, where the majority of 
the population are not Iranians, continued to prevent 
the Iranian government from exercising full authority. 
The autonomous regime had the aid of organizers 
from Soviet Azerbaijan. It began some reforms, the 
most important of which strengthened peasants against 
landlords. Many landlords left the province. Peasants 
liked the reforms but were cautious in supporting the 
autonomous government, waiting to see whether the 
landlords would come back. 

In 1947 the landlords came back. The Iranian gov- 
ernment had been strengthened by American aid, and 
American policy encouraged it to assert its rights over 
Azerbaijan. The tough work in taking back the prov- 
ince was not done by regular troops but by bands 
recruited by the returning landlords. Resistance was 
light, and was not whipped up by Soviet propaganda. 

Iranian Azerbaijan has thus seen something of two 
kinds of reality, which is more important than the two 
kinds of propaganda to which it has also been sub- 
jected/The reforms of the autonomous period were 
imitative of Soviet Azerbaijan, though there was no 
full revolution leading to sovietization and collectiviza- 
tion. The landlords, when they returned, took reprisals 
on all whom they could catch who had been associated 
with the reforms. There was more killing and violence 
in undoing the reforms than there had been in putting 
them into effect in the first place. Unfortunately, in 
backward countries where the rights of the individual 
are not respected unless he is rich and powerful, this 
is always true. The Iranian government is as corrupt 

78 The Situation in Asia 

and inefficient as it ever was. The numbers of the poor, 
the discontented, and the underfed are as great as they 
have always been. The police, however, with Ameri- 
can equipment and training under American advisors, 
are more efficient than they were before, and the rich 
and powerful are better protected. 

The Azerbaijanians will read this lesson in politics 
in only one way: "It is frightening to have the Rus- 
sians come in and upset the old ways of life and start 
reforms of which we do not know the final outcome; 
but it is worse to have the Iranians come back. If we 
drive the Iranians out again, we had better be rough 
enough to make it stick. As for landlords, it is better 
to kill them than to let them get away and come back 
with their armed gangs." The lesson is more than 
academic. There will be another rising in Azerbaijan 
perhaps before the end of 1949. It will be aided by 
the Russians and encouraged by Russian propaganda; 
but it will not be the political creation of the Russians. 
It will spring from the nature of the relationship be- 
tween the people of Iranian Azerbaijan and the gov- 
ernment at Teheran. 

When the Russian Revolution broke out most of 
Russia's neighbors in Asia were not anxious to join in, 
except for the Mongols of Outer Mongolia, who had 
been given such a rough going-over first by Chinese 
militarists and then by antirevolutionary Russians that 
their nationalism, already militant, took a revolution- 
ary turn. In the first years after the revolution, the 
new and terrifying thing called Bolshevism was more 
feared than admired in countries along the edge of 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 79 

Russia. In Asia, prosperous Turkmenians, Uzbeks, 
Kazakhs, and Buryats, as well as Russians, escaped into 
adjoining territories. The tales that they carried with 
them were tales of terror. There was no news of any 
reforms of a kind that brought comfort or ease of 

Then, especially after the Five-Year Plans began, 
there were changes. There were more schools and 
hospitals. There were improvements in the techniques 
of agriculture. Industries began to develop. More and 
more people had opportunities to learn and do things 
which for them were more interesting than their old 
ways of life. Of course in such countries on the Euro- 
pean edge of Russia as Finland and the Baltic states 
only small minorities were attracted by the news of 
improvements in Russia. These improvements had not 
caught up with what they themselves already had. In 
such countries there was a comfortable, middle-class 
standard of life, with good opportunities for educa- 
tion. In Finland, at least, even the peasants were still 
for the most part better off than most of the peasants in 

In Asia, the improvements and new opportunities 
in the Asian republics of the Soviet Union loomed 
much bigger. Along the entire length of the frontier 
in Asia, the new Soviet order was in touch with peoples 
who had never known such a thing as even a modestly 
prosperous European middle-class way of living. A 
few rich people lived in a barbaric land of luxury; 
they had plenty of servants and plenty to eat, but few 
mechanical conveniences. Very few, even among the 

80 The Situation in Asia 

rich, had good medical attention. Many of them were 
ignorant and only half-literate; and even the rich 
knew that their own countries were practically help- 
less in dealing with Great Britain, the great power of 
the Middle East, or the European rulers of the colonial 
countries, or Japan, the great power of the Far East. 
They knew that when foreigners came into their 
countries to develop oil, or to open banks, or to engage 
in large-scale trade, the big profits went to the foreign- 
ers and only small pickings to the native hangers-on 
of the foreigners. 

The poor, in these countries along the edge of Rus- 
sia, were pitifully poor. Their houses, their clothes, 
their food were all miserable. Infant mortality was ap- 
palling. A woman was old and worn-out before she 
was thirty. Only a few of the poor ever went to school; 
and if they did, they learned almost nothing of prac- 
tical value. There was electricity in only a few large 
cities. Nobody farmed with tractors. Their rents were 
excessive, their taxes high, and out of their taxes they 
got back nothing in the way of public services. In 
practically every country in Asia, the soldier and the 
policeman were not looked to as protectors, but 
dreaded as people whose coming always meant some- 
thing bad for the poor and helpless. 

Among Russia's neighbors in Asia, the progress 
made in the Soviet republics of Asia from about 1925 
to 1941 inspired awe and wonder. The virtual civil 
war of the collectivization drive and the harshness of 
the political purges did not shock them as they shocked 
Russia's neighbors in Europe. Throughout Asia, it 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 81 

was taken as a matter of course that those in power 
should, from time to time, make a display of their 
power and rattle the teeth of anybody who might 
seem to defy them in even a mild and indirect way. It 
never even entered their heads to ask questions about 
political democracy in connection with what they 
heard about events in Russia. In their own countries, 
there was no such thing, and the people in all countries 
even America do not compare things that they 
hear about with things that they have not heard about. 

In those years, as I know myself from experience, if 
the subject of American democracy were to crop up 
in a conversation with some ordinary man living some- 
where near the Russian frontier, about the most intel- 
ligent comment that you could expect would be that 
"all Americans are rich, and therefore they all have 
the same rights." I have also heard "democracy" used 
as a novel word to describe something that the user 
thought was a good idea. In 1937, on a steamer in the 
Mediterranean, I ran into some pilgrims going to 
Mecca. They were Uighurs from Sinkiang, who had 
traveled overland through Russia and then across the 
Black Sea to Turkey. In Russia they had been hand- 
somely treated, for propaganda purposes of course. I 
asked them what money they used, traveling through 
so many countries. They showed me little bags of gold 
dust. I said that I thought that the Russians confiscated 
all gold, giving paper rubles instead. "Oh, no," they 
said, "haven't you heard? The Russians have democ- 
racy. They are good to Moslems." 

Minorities, of course, continued to be afraid of even 

82 The Situation in Asia 

a "progressive" Russia. A rich man with a lot of prop- 
erty, living in a weak country, is made nervous by the 
news that the country next door to him, after taking 
away the property of the rich, has become even more 
powerful than it was when it was ruled by rich men. 
Growing majorities, however, were impressed by tales 
of the Soviet way of doing things. It leads to day- 
dreams when a poor peasant lad in Iranian Azerbaijan, 
or a poor Kazakh shepherd in Sinkiang, hears that in 
Soviet Azerbaijan or Soviet Kazakhstan a poor boy 
from a family exactly like his, speaking exactly the 
same language, can go to school with all expenses paid 
by the state, and on through school to the university, 
to become an engineer, or a doctor, or a high official, 
or anything that he is good enough to be. He thinks 
it wonderful that in those countries his position could 
be as good as that of a Russian, and that if his position 
were high he would have Russians under him, because 
in Russia those things, at least in theory, depend on a 
man's ability, not on his race. 

The idea that a man from a minority can be equal, 
as an individual, to a man from a majority is a novel 
idea, because throughout Asia minorities are oppressed. 
If a traveler from America, passing through, were to 
tell such a boy that his opportunities in America would 
be just as good, he would be glad to hear it; but for 
him, going to America is a fantastic idea, while going 
to Russia is excitingly close to being a practical idea. 

During and since the war there have been setbacks 
to the reputation that Russia had earned in Asia by 
the propaganda of things done, as compared with the 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 83 

propaganda of things said. The war itself was a ter- 
rible ordeal. The rate of casualties in the mechanized 
war with the Germans was beyond anything in the 
experience of Asia. The Soviet peoples of Asia were 
still near enough to their experience under the Tsars 
to be ready to suspect very easily that the Russians 
used them as cannon fodder to save Russian casualties. 
(In much the same way it became a saying, among the 
Indian troops used by the British in Italy, that "we are 
put in the front line to storm the city, but the British 
march at the head of the column when we parade 
through the city.") German propaganda helped to 
work up distrust between non-Russians and Russians. 
German linguists were good, and they spread through 
leaflets and pamphlets a propaganda that was tech- 
nically much more skillful than that used, for example, 
by the Japanese against the Chinese Communists. 

The Russians had trouble during the war with some 
of the Tatars of South Russia, the Kalmuk Mongols of 
the lower Volga, and some of the tribes in the Cauca- 
sus. On the whole, however, they came out of this 
ordeal well, as compared with any nation using "mi- 
nority" troops during the war. The Kazakhs, whom 
the Tsarist Russians had never dared to use as troops, 
sent entire cavalry divisions into the war, under Ka- 
zakh command. Numbers of these Kazakhs, after 
being captured by the Germans and liberated by the 
Americans or British, have said that they do not want 
to go back. On the other hand there seems to have been 
no political trouble in the huge land of Kazakhstan 
during the war, whereas during the First World 

84 The Situation in Asia 

War there were serious risings against Tsarist Russia. 

During the war, the Russians deliberately roused 
their own Russian patriotism, and with it Russian 
nationalism, to reinforce Soviet patriotism. Since the 
war, this strident Russian nationalism may have grated 
on the competitive nationalism of the smaller, non- 
Russian peoples within the Soviet Union. It certainly 
has stirred misgivings in Soviet satellite countries and 
other countries bordering on the Soviet Union. Old 
fears of "Russification" have revived. 

In the last weeks of the war against Japan, when 
the Russians came in at the kill, their Outer Mongolian 
allies contributed two columns or armies of Russian- 
equipped, Russian-trained, but Mongol-commanded 
troops. These columns cut through Inner Mongolia 
on their way into Manchuria. There was cordial frat- 
ernization. The Mongols of Outer Mongolia had for 
twenty years been under a revolutionary government 
of their own, independent in fact though not inter- 
nationally recognized, and under strong Russian in- 
fluence. During this period Inner Mongolia had re- 
mained at first under Chinese rule, under which the 
Mongols suffered steady encroachment and loss of 
their land by Chinese colonization. Later, most of 
Inner Mongolia had come under Japanese control. 
The Japanese encouraged the Mongols to act inde- 
pendently toward the Chinese, but divided the part of 
Inner Mongolia they occupied into two "protecto- 
rates," in which they supported a nonrevolutionary 
nationalism headed by the hereditary princes and the 
high ecclesiastical authorities of Lama-Buddhism* 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 85 

The Mongols took it for granted after the war that 
all Mongol-inhabited territory would henceforth be 
united in one "Greater Mongolia." Even hereditary 
princes visited Ulan Bator, capital of revolutionary 
Outer Mongolia, and were cordially received. Then 
suddenly Outer Mongolia cooled and hardened in its 
attitude toward Inner Mongolia. The border was 
closed. Nationalists of Inner Mongolia interpreted this 
to mean that Russia, in fear of international complica- 
tions, had forbidden Outer Mongolia to go ahead 
with Mongol unification. This in turn they interpreted 
to mean that though Outer Mongolia the Mongolian 
People's Republic is nominally independent and an 
"equal" ally of Russia, its interests are actually sub- 
ordinated and sacrificed to the "high policy" of Russia. 

In Europe, as in Asia, there is the same feeling 
among those whom the Russians call allies, and whom 
we call the satellites of Russia, that when the going is 
tough their interests are sacrificed to the overriding 
interests of Russia. Such apprehensions are height- 
ened by war scares. It is a dogma with the Rus- 
sians, or something perilously close to a dogma, that 
eventually America is going to lead the capitalist 
world in a "preventive" war against them. When a 
war scare makes it look as though theory might ma- 
terialize into fact, the Russians feel constrained to 
consolidate their defenses, and to do so by tightening 
up the centralization of all controls in their own home 
territory, which they consider the heart of the social- 
ist world of the future. 

When under the pressure of a war scare, the Rus- 

86 The Situation in Asia 

sians feel that there is no time to take it easy, to ex- 
plain and persuade, or to ease transitional processes 
from capitalism to socialism in countries like Yugo- 
slavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, or Outer Mongolia. 
They sacrifice the "federalizing" aspect of nominal 
political voting equality between big and little states 
in the Cominform to what they think is the compel- 
ling need for harsh military centralization. 

The story of Titoism throws light on this side of 
Russian policy. The Hoover Report on reorganiza- 
tion of the executive branch of the government re- 
vealed that in the spring of 1948 there was an acute 
war scare in Washington, based on a mistaken intel- 
ligence report from the Air Force. We prepared to go 
on a war footing. Within weeks, the Tito crisis be- 
tween Yugoslavia and the Cominform broke into the 
open. Only one inference is possible. The Russians 
knew of the war scare in Washington, and reacted to 
it as a threat that they would be attacked. They tight- 
ened up their own controls. Sessions of the Cominform 
became less like consultations between countries with 
kindred interests and more like general staff sessions in 
which the Russians gave the orders and the subordinate 
countries were expected to carry them out. Tito, feel- 
ing that the sacrifices demanded of Yugoslavia were 
disproportionate, broke away. There were repercus- 
sions in Czechoslovakia and Poland, but these coun- 
tries were held in line. 

Presumably, when the Russians tighten up in an 
emergency, they get at least the minimum results that 
they consider necessary. But these results are subject 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 87 

to their own law of diminishing returns: control is 
increased, within the geographical range in which 
control is possible; but beyond the line where Russian 
policy must begin to operate through influence in- 
stead of control, Russian influence diminishes. The 
fact that Russia is subject to this law of diminishing 
returns proves again that although the Soviet Union 
is the only country that approaches the United States 
in the magnitude of its power, Russian power, like 
American power, has its limits. The limits of power 
are different for the two countries, but they work in 
the same way. To the extent that America tightens 
up control over Western Europe, forbidding Marshall 
Plan countries to trade in certain categories of goods 
with Eastern Europe, because this trade, though it 
would benefit them, would also benefit Russia, we 
infringe on their sovereignty. We appear to justify 
the Russian propaganda, by reducing them from the 
status of allies to the status of satellites. We tighten 
up control, where we are able to exercise control, but 
we lose influence in areas where, not having control, 
our policy is forced to depend on influence. 

These comparisons show that both in Asia and in 
Europe politics work through a double process. There 
is a politics of attraction and a politics of repulsion. 
Both processes are evident along the geographical 
limits of the power of the European empires in Asia, 
and the limits of American and Russian power. When 
countries in Asia appear to be gravitating toward Rus- 
sia, it may be either because they are attracted by what 
Russia itself is doing, or because they are repelled by 

88 The Situation in Asia 

the policies of the European powers or America. 
When they appear to be recoiling from Russia, it 
may be because of what Russia is doing, or it may 
be because they are attracted by the policy of Amer- 
ica or one of the European countries. Frequently, 
both processes are at work at the same time. 

It is quite understandable that there should be times 
when countries close to Russia are repelled, while dis- 
tant countries are attracted. At the time of the Russian 
Revolution, Russia's weak neighbors in Asia were re- 
lieved that such a powerful empire had fallen; but the 
bloodshed and disorder of the revolution frightened 
them and sharply checked any impulse to join in. 
More distant people saw the advantages more clearly 
and were less affected by the feeling of danger. The 
mere existence of a revolutionary Russia was a great 
encouragement to the colonial unrest in Asia after the 
First World War. Sun Yat-sen at Canton, far in the 
south of China, was repelled by the coldness toward 
him of the British and American officials whom he 
tried to approach, and eagerly welcomed the chance 
to co-operate with Russia* 

The Russians can damage their own power to at- 
tract peoples who look to them for sympathy. In 
1946 they decided that, all things considered, they had 
better pull their troops out of Manchuria. They were 
not sure that America would respond to this gesture 
and in fact the American Marines were not withdrawn 
from China until a good deal later, and American 
planes and ships were active in transporting the troops 
of Chiang Kai-shek so they played it safe. Advance 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 89 

agents of the Chinese Communists were akeady in 
Manchuria, eager to take over the great industries 
built up by the Japanese. They were sure they could 
swing it. The Russians were not so sure. They were 
afraid that Manchuria, if its industries were left a 
going concern, might be turned into an American 
stronghold on the doorstep of Siberia, so they gutted 
the factories of Manchuria as they withdrew. The 
Chinese Communists, confident of their own abilities 
and loyal to Russia in all questions of common world 
policy, found this very hard to take. It was a ruthless 
example of the sacrifice of the interests of non-Russian 
Communists to the paramount interest of the Soviet 

On the whole, however, the Russian power of at- 
traction in Asia has not diminished, at least poten- 
tially. It owes a great deal to the way in which Euro- 
pean and American policies have repelled so many 
countries and peoples. Colonial peoples, attacked by 
their former rulers and shot down by American guns, 
increasingly feel that Russia is their only friend. India 
and Pakistan, though anti-Communist, like to be 
treated by Russia as countries which have genuine in- 
terests of their own, not subordinate to an overriding 
British or American interest. Neither of these countries 
can be converted into a willing ally against Russia, be- 
cause to turn against Russia would in fact subordinate 
them to an overriding Anglo-American interest. Israel, 
though its political philosophy is closer to that of 
the British Labour Government than to that of any 
other government in the world, is repelled by the 

90 The Situation in Asia 

morose anti-Semitism of Foreign Secretary Ernest 
Bevin and by the British policy of supporting Arab 
princes who represent arbitrary privilege, subjection 
of the people to a hereditary aristocracy, and every 
form of social abuse that, in Britain itself, the Labour 
Government is pledged to abolish. This repulsion acts 
very much in the same way as if Israel were drawn 
toward Russia by attraction. 

Elsewhere in the Near East nationalism will in- 
evitably turn against the present rulers, whose high- 
est idea of statesmanship is to sell the oil resources 
of their countries to British and American concession- 
aires, in return for royalties which they treat as per- 
sonal income, not as state revenues for the benefit 
of the people. In proportion as this form of nation- 
alism develops, the repulsion of Anglo-American pol- 
icy will increasingly make it appear as though a pow- 
erful force of attraction toward Russia were at work. 

The strength and weakness of the Soviet position 
in Asia match each other. One major advantage held 
by the Soviet Union is that its frontiers, in both Eu- 
rope and Asia, actually touch the frontier of only one 
country massive enough to be a future great world 
power. That country is China. All other countries 
whose frontiers touch the Soviet Union are not only 
weak, but are much below the Russian level in mod- 
ern technology and industrialization. The only close 
neighbors of Russia that rank with Russia in tech- 
nological quality are Czechoslovakia and possibly Fin- 
land; but these two countries are units too small to 
become independent centers of power. For all the 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 91 

other countries that ring the Soviet frontiers, Russia 
not only holds a central position but is the nearest 
geographical center of modern civilization, technol- 
ogy, and industry. This fact, which is of enormous 
importance, especially in Asia, is easily overlooked 
from America, because from the American point of 
view Russia technologically is a country lagging be- 
hind, not a country in advance. 

The fact that Russia is strong, geographically holds 
a central position, and is technologically far in advance 
of the weak countries that surround it makes easy a 
modern resumption of the old Tsarist "incorporative" 
expansion. If Russia helps to develop an adjoining 
country, that country not only acquires a more mod- 
ern economy but tends to become incorporated with 
the larger Russian mass. In this particular respect, it 
may sometimes be a quibble to distinguish politically 
between a country actually annexed by Russia, like 
the former People's Republic of Tannu Tuva, and a 
country like the Mongolian People's Republic, whose 
government technically is allied with the Soviet 
Union, not incorporated into it. 

The Mongols themselves want certain things ma- 
chines, industrially produced goods, technicians. They 
want these things for their own reasons, not because 
they have somehow been hypnotized by Russian prop- 
aganda into wanting the good things of life. They can 
get these things only from the Russians ~ partly be- 
cause they are next door to Russia. America, the 
only other country that could at present supply them, 
voted against admitting the Mongolian People's Re- 

92 The Situation in Asia 

public into the United Nations and has no diplo- 
matic or trade relations with it. But the Russians are 
themselves hard-pressed economically. They can af- 
ford to supply goods and lend technicians, even to a 
good neighbor, only if the neighbor uses them in 
ways which, in addition to benefiting itself, benefit 
its common interests with Russia. In such a situation, 
it is more or less a matter of convenience whether the 
two countries co-ordinate their interests through al- 
liances and trade pacts between the two governments 
or through federalization. 

The Russian kind of strength can be seen to its 
best advantage in Korea, a country in which it is in 
competition with the American kind of strength. 
When Japan fell, the Korean passion for liberty 
was at explosion point. There are about 25,000,000 
Koreans. They are one of the few nations in Asia that 
have no minority problems. There is virtually no non- 
Korean population in the country since the Japanese 
have been shipped out. There had been thirty-six 
years of Japanese rule, marked by an especially brutal 
police oppression. Even the Korean language had 
been forbidden in Korean schools since 1937. Eighty 
per cent of the wealth of the country had passed into 
Japanese hands. All that the Koreans wanted was 
liberation and a chance to form their own government. 

What they got was a stern military government 
under the Russians in the north and a military govern- 
ment under the Americans in the south which was not 
equally stern, but was equally tight in its grip on 
power. Gradually, as the Americans began to pass 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 93 

power back to the Koreans, only one rule was ap- 
plied: no power must get into the hands of Koreans 
who might work with the Russians. This limitation 
forced the Americans to work with two kinds of 
people: returned political exiles, and Koreans who 
had collaborated with the Japanese. The returned 
exiles had only a shaky popularity because, although 
their names were known and respected, they had no 
network of actual organization in the country. The 
scanty network that existed was the Korean under- 
ground, which was leftist. The collaborators were 
detested by the Koreans, but had a kind of dingy re- 
spectability in American eyes because they were sup- 
posed, through their affiliation with the Japanese, to 
know something about keeping the people under con- 
trol; and the people were the main danger if a big 
swing toward the Russians were to develop. 

We are safe in assuming that the Russians, also, 
were guided by a rule that power must not be put 
into the hands of Koreans who might turn to the 
Americans. This meant that the Russians had to rely 
on the factory workers and the beaten-down masses 
of the peasantry, which suited them in any case. 

The deciding factor was the disposal of Japanese- 
owned property. When 80 per cent of the wealth of 
a country, including not only the factories but all 
the farming land worth owning, is in the hands of 
hated conquerors, and the conquerors are suddenly 
removed, the people who get their hands on most of 
the property formerly owned by the conquerors au- 
tomatically become a ruling class. It is as simple as 

94 The Situation in Asia 

that. Most of the industrial property in Korea is in 
the north, which gave the Russians something of a 
proletariat with which to work. South Korea is mainly 
agricultural, which multiplied the problems of the 
Americans, whose Military Government had not the 
faintest comprehension of the kinds of animosity that 
are aroused in Asia by the struggle over land between 
peasants and landlords. 

A "land reform" was attempted by the Americans, 
but was bound to be a farce. The peasants had no 
capital The Koreans who had collaborated with the 
Japanese and the Koreans who had served in the 
Japanese police knew how to look after themselves 
when land was redistributed. They also knew all the 
tricks of how to get land away from peasants. Sooner 
or later they were bound to get most of the land into 
their possession, reducing the peasants to tenancy 
again. They knew this, and the peasants knew it. 
Only the Americans did not. The result has been the 
steady growth in South Korea, not of pro-Russian 
feeling but of the conviction that the former friends 
of the Japanese, now the friends of the Americans, 
must be driven out if South Korea is to get together 
with North Korea and form a nation. 

The problem was thus simplified for the Russians. 
The Americans had set up for them exactly the con- 
ditions under which there would be the least effectual 
Korean resistance to a Russian-type land reform. To 
make sure that the land stayed with the peasants to 
whom it was given, the Russians had to do two things. 
They had to organize peasant unions, so that farm 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 95 

labor could be co-operatively organized, thus making 
up as far as possible for the deficiency of capital; and 
they had to deprive of power those Koreans who knew 
the legal and political tricks of getting peasants into 
debt and out of their land. The problem largely solved 
itself: Koreans of this kind made for the border as 
fast as they could, in order to join up with the similar 
Koreans who were already getting the key political 
and economic jobs with the Americans. 

The factories were easy to nationalize. Because they 
had all belonged to the Japanese, no Koreans had to 
be expropriated. In addition, Korean industry had been 
developed as a subsidiary to Japanese industry. Cut off 
from Japan, it could not stand alone and had to be 
integrated with Russian industry in Siberia. The Rus- 
sians had only to organize labor unions, import tech- 
nicians, and begin to train a new Korean management 
under nationalized ownership. 

The finishing touches climaxed the difference be- 
tween Russian and American methods. The Russians 
organized a national army, grounding it on peasants 
who had land to defend and industrial workers who 
considered the new government their own, since it 
had been based on the protection of their rights. The 
army was equipped with Russian material, not cap- 
tured Japanese material. The Russians were able to 
withdraw their occupation forces by the end of 1948. 
There is every reason to believe that they left behind 
them a North Korea in which a substantial number 
of people intensely dislike the new order of things; 
but there is also no reason to doubt that the army will 

96 The Situation in Asia 

fight, that the new government has enough grass- 
roots support to stay solidly in power, and that a new 
personnel of technicians and management is forming, 
probably rather rapidly, which looks to Russia as the 
source of all skill and wisdom. 

In South Korea the Americans organized not a na- 
tional army, but a constabulary, the backbone of 
which consists of men who served in the police under 
the Japanese the most hated of all who collaborated 
with the Japanese. There has already been one serious 
mutiny in this force, and there will be more. Syngman 
Rhee, a returned exile, is at the head of the political 
structure. He has completely tainted himself by his 
wholehearted association with the relatively pros- 
perous, crooked, and pliable Koreans who collaborated 
with the Japanese. Various enterprises have been "na- 
tionalized," but have been staffed with personnel In 
political favor, whose outlook is not one of serving 
the state but one of building individual power for 
themselves and eventually converting public property 
into private property. Land reform has resulted in a 
large increase in the number of owners of land, but 
control of the land, through the political, administra- 
tive, and tax machinery, is in the hands of politicians 
whose idea of farming is to be a landlord, not a 
working proprietor. Peasant dissatisfaction has al- 
ready been shown in a number of risings; there will 
be more. 

The army cannot be trusted to fight; the people 
do not trust the government; the government cannot 
be depended on, and does not depend on itself: it ap- 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 97 

peals for continued American occupation and protec- 
tion. If there is to be a civil war, South Korea would 
not be able to subdue North Korea without a great 
deal more American help than is now available. North 
Korea would be able to overran South Korea with- 
out Russian help, unless stopped by American com- 
bat troops. America, which has in China complained 
of the bad luck of having inherited the Kuomintang 
through no fault of its own, has in Korea manufac- 
tured its own Kuomintang. To support our proclaimed 
policy of world-wide opposition to police states, we 
have in South Korea created a weak and unreliable 
police state of our own. 

The limitations of Russian power appear in coun- 
tries like Iran and Afghanistan. These countries do 
not have large, Japanese-built industries, as Korea has, 
or a sufficient network of modern roads for rapid 
movement. Their revolutionary movements are not 
strong enough to start up on their own and then turn 
to the Russians for aid though the separatist move- 
mentin Iranian Azerbaijan may become strong enough 
to do so within a year or two. The Russians do not 
have enough goods to spare to dominate the markets 
of these countries. Economically, they are still so hard- 
pressed that they must trade where they can get 
things that they really need themselves. Nor can 
the Russians send in enough technicians to dominate 
modernization. At a pinch, the Russians can send 
technicians to Korea and Mongolia, but the indications 
are that they usually serve for rather short terms, be- 
cause the pressure is so great to get them back to 

98 The Situation in Asia 

Russia to work on jobs where they are badly needed. 

In this respect America competes at an advantage 
with Russia. America alone has plenty of technicians 
to export. They swarm in Iran, Afghanistan, and the 
Arab countries. One of the most effective services 
of the State Department is the "men wanted' 7 bureau 
through which it finds and hires technical men of all 
kinds to go out and work for the governments of 
undeveloped countries. These men are good political 
agents. They convince many people in the countries 
in which they work that if only their own govern- 
ments were more like that of America, there would 
be nothing that such wonder-working men could not 
accomplish. A recent survey showed that, except for 
countries like Northern Korea and Mongolia, whose 
governments are closely associated with that of Rus- 
sia, the Russians had placed only two men of this 
kind in Asia in a hospital in the Near East. 

Limitations of this kind on the power of Russia 
are important. Too many Americans appear to believe 
as devoutly as the Russians, but more blindly, in the 
inevitability of the march of Communism in Asia. A 
mysterious potency is ascribed to "ideas" exported 
from Russia and to "Russian-trained" political organiz- 
ers. The truth is that there is no shortage of bright 
ideas in Asia. Indonesia, Malaya, Burma, Indo-China, 
and China itself show that Russian-trained organizers 
are not needed either to start revolution or to keep it 
going; and that where they do appear they are no 
guarantee of success. 

Indonesia is an example. In spite of Dutch propa- 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 99 

ganda, Communist influence in Indonesia was rather 
negligible, until the return from Russia of Muso in 
1948. Muso was not a Communist because he was 
Russian-trained. He became a Communist, and got 
Russian training, because as a nationalist he fled from 
Indonesia about twenty years ago with a Dutch price 
on his head. In 1948 he returned to Indonesia, for- 
tified by about twenty years of Russian training, but 
weakened by more than twenty years of lack of con- 
tact with his own people, and lack of knowledge of 
the channels in which Indonesian nationalism is now 
running. He started an insurrection within the Indo- 
nesian Republic, in an attempt to take over control 
from the more moderate nationalists. The result was 
to increase disunity. The Republic put down the Com- 
munists, but was itself so weakened that it cracked 
when the Dutch, dishonestly accusing it of being 
dominated by Communists, attacked it with planes and 
mechanized forces. Indonesian resistance to the Dutch 
will now turn to guerrilla warfare. Communists will 
probably win control of the leadership not Russian- 
trained Communists, but militant nationalists who 
begin to call themselves Communists because the hard- 
faced Dutch in charge of military operations have con- 
vinced them that men who are going to be shot down 
as if they were Communists might as well organize 
themselves as Communists. 

Whether China will bring out the strength or the 
weakness of the Russian position in Asia is a question 
that will be considered in Chapter VIII. One aspect 
of the question, however, should be touched on here. 

100 The Situation in Asia 

The strength of the Chinese Communists lies in the 
fact that they have been able to develop, out of their 
own resources and the forces at work in China, the 
largest-scale Communist revolution in history outside 
of Russia itself. They have done this with virtually 
no Russian military aid. (The Japanese arms they 
acquired in Manchuria were more than matched by 
the Japanese arms turned over to Chiang Kai-shek by 
America and by the Japanese themselves.) 

More important is the fact that, as pointed out in 
Chapter III, they have had no aid from Russia rep- 
resenting the productive power of modern industry. 
Both the limitations of Russian power and the limita- 
tions of European and American power in Asia are 
framed on the end-paper map. The debatable lands 
that lie between the Soviet land frontier and the ring 
of beachheads held by Europe and America are going 
to have their own political future. The trend of that 
future is going to be decided only in part by Russian, 
European, and American power. In part it is going 
to be decided by a balance between the repellent and 
attractive characteristics of Russian policy and the 
repellent and attractive characteristics of the policies 
of America and the European countries backed by 
America. The negative factor of repulsion will be as 
important as the positive factor of attraction. 

The analysis of the politics of repulsion is much 
neglected by statesmen who do not seem to realize that 
it is a commodity in which they deal from day to day, 
It may be that more peoples have advanced backward 
into the future than have marched boldly forward; 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 101 

backward, because their faces were turned toward 
something which they resisted, and from which they 
were defending themselves. There was certainly some- 
thing of this phenomenon in the American Revolu- 
tion. There was a great deal of it in the Russian Revo- 
lution, when many patriotic Russians, turning their 
faces to the alien intervention on their soil, from which 
they tried to defend themselves, found themselves 
backed into Bolshevism. The same phenomenon has 
been important in the recent history of Asia, and 
most important of all in the history of the civil war 
in China. The mixture of harsh oppression, incom- 
petence, and scandalous corruption in the Kuomin- 
tang, rather than the wiles of Russian Communists or 
the eloquence of Chinese Communists, has been the 
chief recruiting agent of the Communist cause in 

In the long run, it is likely that America and Russia, 
in the shares that they take in determining the future 
of politics in Asia, will not succeed or fail so much by 
the brilliant improvisations they make in seizing op- 
portunities as by the mistakes they may make, or the 
insensitivity they may show, in the routine conduct of 

In the range of political ideas, there is very little 
that the Russians can pretend to reveal to the peoples 
of Asia that they do not know already. Even in the 
range, of political methods and practice many of the 
peoples of Asia, such as the Chinese, the peoples of 
Viet Nam, and the peoples of Indonesia, are prob- 
ably learning faster than the Russians could teach 

102 The Situation in Asia 

them. In military action the biggest single battle in 
Asia, that of China, has already been won by the 
Chinese Communists with little or no aid from Russia. 
In the big battles that are being fought in colonial 
Southeast Asia, it is practically impossible for Russia 
to give military aid. In the fighting that may break 
out in the Near East it will be difficult for Russia to 
give aid on a large scale at any great distance from 
her own frontiers without the danger of bringing on 
a world war. 

What is going to count, and heavily, is the ability to 
give economic aid. Economically, the Soviet Union 
is heavy and slow. Its economic strength is not of a 
kind that is easily exported across its own frontiers. 
In this field, America holds the initiative. America's 
economic strength is of a kind that makes it possible 
to send economic aid to great distances and in the 
concentrated form which quickly creates new produc- 
tive power in the countries aided. By giving economic 
aid to some countries and withholding it from others, 
America can bring to bear a kind of influence that is 
scarcely, as yet, within the reach of Russia. 

America and the European countries backed by 
America hold a ring of bases and footholds around 
Asia. If, using those positions of advantage, American 
economic power and the threat of American military 
power are used in an attempt to break or bend the 
will of the peoples of Asia, most of those peoples will 
be able to hold their ground geographically, but po- 
litically they will retreat into alliance with Russia. 
Even with the great preponderance of strength that 

Russia's Frontier in Asia 103 

we have at present, and with the frequent temptation 
to penalize economically countries which do not yield 
to us politically, we cannot afford to gamble with time. 
Before long, Russia's power of political attraction may 
revive and exercise a greater pull, especially on Asia, 
than it did in the 1930's. 

For the time being Russia's range of economic action 
is geographically limited, and the amount of economic 
effort that Russia can make, even within that limited 
range, is not great. By 1952 there may be a great shift. 
We have been warned that by that year, which will 
mark the completion of the Marshall Plan program, 
Europe will still be below par economically and not 
able to stand firmly on its own feet. A lot will de- 
pend on whether Asia then is still holding out against 
the return of Western imperialism; and the probabili- 
ties are that colonial Asia cannot be reconquered, and 
China cannot be coerced. By 1952, on the other hand, 
the war wounds of Russia will be entirely healed. We 
must 6ount on a rapid increase in Soviet economic 
strength from then on. If Russia should be able to put 
a considerably increased economic effort into Asia, 
the balance of the world is going to swing heavily 
in Russia's favor. 



AMERICAN policy in Japan is based on the assumption 
that as Japan goes, so Asia can be made to go. The first 
link in the chain of assumption is that Japan can be 
made the workshop of Asia and a bulwark against 
Russia. This assumption is based on the marvelous 
theory that Japan, as an instrument of American 
policy, combines all the virtues of Britain, Germany, 
and the Kingdom of Nepal. Like Britain, it is to be 
used as a stationary aircraft carrier. Like Germany, it 
is superior in industrial development to all the coun- 
tries near it, and therefore like Germany it is to be 
made the center from which the industrial develop- 
ment of the mainland near it is co-ordinated, con- 
trolled, and oriented against Russia. Like the King- 
dom of Nepal, which is independent of India and 
furnishes fierce mercenary Gurkha warriors to both 
India and Britain, the "naturally disciplined" people 
of Japan, who are "traditionally anti-Russian," are 
expected, as time goes on, to furnish tough colonial 
legions of a new kind which, having no politics of 
their own, will be solidly loyal to the America which 
supports their homeland "workshop." 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 105 

The first link In this chain of assumptions is the 
entirely fanciful theory that Japan can be made not 
only into a workshop, but a workshop that controls 
Asia. The second is the equally fanciful theory that 
Japan can be made into a politically reliable bulwark 
against Russia. The third is the most fanciful theory 
of all: that there is only one Japan, a solid, internally 
indivisible unit, like one Republican, or one trained 

This whole chain of assumptions and cluster of 
fantasies is an illusion. The illusion was born out of 
the stunned docility with which the Japanese accepted 
surrender. After the fanatic, bitter-end ferocity with 
which the Japanese had fought throughout the South 
Pacific and at Tarawa and on Okinawa, it was thought 
that this unbelievably sudden and complete meekness 
could only be explained by the "inherent sense of dis- 
cipline" of the Japanese when the Emperor ordered 
them to surrender. The growth of the illusion was 
fostered by the precise, clockwork efficiency with 
which General MacArthur took over. He did, prob- 
ably, the best job of its kind that has ever been done. 
The illusion grew to full stature during the first 
period of General MacArthur's administration, which 
ran from the surrender in August 1945 until the 80th 
Congress was elected in the United States in 1946. 

In this period an American New Deal was carried 
out in Japan. With the touch of fatherly mysticism 
that he combines with his old-line Republicanism, 
General MacArthur salted New Dealers all through 
SGAP, his headquarters organization as Supreme Com- 

106 The Situation in Asia 

mander for the Allied Powers. It is true that there 
were never many at the very top; but there were a 
great many in the middle ranks, which in any bu- 
reaucracy are all-important. They were especially in- 
fluential in the drafting of policy, with the result that 
even in this period policies were usually more progres- 
sive and New Dealish in the form in which they were 
announced than in the form in which they were 
carried out. 

Some of the New Dealers were civilian officers who 
had been commissioned during the war. Some came 
straight from Washington after the surrender, when 
SCAP in Tokyo, desperately short of experienced 
bureaucrats, was squalling for help just at the time 
that President Truman, in his first pathetic attempt to 
appease the Republicans in the name of "unity," was 
junking New Dealers as fast as they could be nudged 
out of the way by the cold-shoulder treatment. The 
irony of this migration from Washington to Tokyo 
recalled the good old days when America shipped so 
much scrap iron to Japan that there was a shortage of 
scrap in America Itself. 

Portentous changes began when the 80th Congress 
was elected in America. As its first war whoops were 
borne on the air waves to Tokyo, its tribal kinsmen 
on General MacArthur's staff began to gather in 
powwows of their own. The scalps of the pale-faced 
New Dealers began to come loose. There was a purge. 
The cleverest and crookedest of the old-line Jap- 
anese politicians caught on. Recovering their poise and 
agility, they made new bids. Get Japan off the neck 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 107 

of the American taxpayer? Nothing easier, they said 
with perfectly straight faces. If only the American 
taxpayer would stick his neck a long, long way out, 
they would get off it. They would make Japan an ally, 
a workshop, a bulwark. 

Many of the facts of these changes, and most of 
their significance, were obscured from American 
public opinion. General MacArthur's hat was big 
enough to hide Japan under it. The publicity arrange- 
ments were such that Japan could talk only through 
General MacArthur's hat. General MacArthur is a 
first-class administrator. His machine of administra- 
tion functioned efficiently. It was particularly efficient 
in all matters in which the old-line Japanese poli- 
ticians working with it wanted to help it to be effi- 

General MacArthur and SCAP have found it easy 
to win a cordial response from the American press 
and public opinion because a number of the very im- 
portant aspects of efficiency are favored by the fact 
that America is virtually in sole occupation of Japan. 
Only token numbers of British Empire troops share 
the military occupation. Exactly the right screen of 
internationalism is provided by an Inter-Allied Ad- 
visory Council in Tokyo and a Far Eastern Com- 
mission of eleven nations in Washington to draft 
policy directives. General MacArthur's real powers 
are doubly safeguarded by the American tradition 
that a commander in the field has the widest latitude 
in interpreting the directives under which he works, 
and by a Washington ruling that in the event of dif- 

108 The Situation in Asia 

ferences of opinion "the policies of the United States 
will govern." x 

The combined structure of policy and administra- 
tion is able to keep the Russians on the side lines. 
Having no power of veto, and no share in the military- 
occupation of Japan, as they have in Germany, they 
can be regularly outvoted at the policy level and, after 
being outvoted, have no power to obstruct at the ad- 
ministrative level. They can only stand on the side 
lines and protest. In the short run, this has been a great 
advantage to American policy. It has contributed im- 
measurably to the working efficiency of the American 
occupation, and in the psychological aspects of the 
cold war it has made it possible to present the Rus- 
sians as would-be troublemakers, fortunately held in 
restraint by the wise hand of General MacArthur. 

In the long run, these temporary advantages may 
prove to have been illusory. In the long run, it will 
prove impossible to determine the future of Japan 
apart from the future of Asia as a whole. The future 
of Asia as a whole is not likely to be determined either 
by the positive power of majority votes or by the 
negative veto power of any one great nation. It is 
much more likely to be determined by a complicated 
series of concessions and compromises, leading at last 
to workable agreement. Between now and the long- 
term settlement, which is not likely to be reached for 

r "U. S. Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan," jointly 
prepared by the Department of State, War Department, and 
Navy Department and sent to General MacArthur August 
29, 1945; approved by President Truman September 6, 1945. 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 109 

some years, the present American policy in Japan is 
likely to turn very, very sour. If that should happen, 
it would be a great embarrassment to have the Russians 
able to say "We told you so," while America is unable 
to retort, "You were in it too." 

In the development of the whole situation, and in 
the widening gap between the realities of Japan and 
the illusory picture of Japan that has been built up 
in America, General MacArthur's personal public- 
relations setup has been of incalculable importance. No 
American general has ever had public-relations hench- 
men who were so fast on their feet or so slow in the 
head; Their creed is that General Mac Arthur should 
be represented not only as a source of great wisdom, 
which he is, but as the only source of unerring wis- 
dom, which he is not. It is a tragedy that this should 
be so, because when the mirage breaks down General 
MacArthur's high and deserved place in history is 
likely to be damaged. He is a general of genius, an. 
extremely capable administrator, a great statesman, 
and potentially a very great statesman. His one weak- 
ness, which has prevented him from realizing his full 
potential as a statesman r is his inability to keep syco- 
phants out of his entourage. 

The truth is that the present "realistic" policy in 
Japan is going to fail, because it is not in fact realistic 
but pseudo-realistic. The truth is that there have in 
recent history been several Japans. There is the Japan 
that we defeated. There is the interim Japan of the 
New Deal period between V-J Day in August 1945 
and the election of the 80th Congress in the fall of 

110 The Situation in Asia 

1946. There is the Japan that American policy has 
aimed at creating through 1947 and 1948 and still 
hopes to create. And, finally, there is the real Japan 
of today. This real Japan is unstable in its internal 
composition. It is likely to blow up in our faces. If it 
does, the explosion will in some ways be like an atomic 
bomb, with poisonous radioactive effects on our in- 
terests and policies in Asia, and in some ways like a 
humiliating stink bomb, damaging the reputations of 
General MacArthur and of policy makers in Wash- 

The Japan that we defeated has always been pre- 
sented to the American public as a Japan stunned by 
the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Naga- 
saki, but still disciplined in its reflexes and responsive 
to the Emperor's command to surrender, which saved 
untold American casualties. The realities are somewhat 
different. Japan could have been defeated, and was 
ready to surrender, without the atomic bomb. The 
rulers of Japan were looking for a way to surrender 
the nation while saving themselves. If the atomic 
bombs had not been dropped, another excuse would 
have been found. It is widely believed, not only in 
Russia but in Europe see Professor Blackett's un- 
comfortable book on the whole atomic problem 2 
that the atomic bombs were not in fact dropped be- 
cause there was no other way of clinching the sur- 
render of Japan, but as a warning to Russia that we 
had become able to defeat Japan without Russia's 

2 P. M. S. Elackett, Fear, War, and the Bomb, New York, 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 111 

intervention in Manchuria, which we had previously 
been so overeager to secure; and that, having this 
weapon at last in our hands, we were henceforth on 
totally different terms not only with Japan, but with 
Russia itself. 

There is in fact no justification whatever for be- 
lieving that there was any "Russian angle" to the 
dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. There is every 
reason for believing that President Truman, who made 
the final decision and took on himself the sole re- 
sponsibility for it, was guided only by the feeling 
that it was his duty to bring the war to an end as 
quickly as possible, with the loss of as few American 
lives as possible. But from the moment that the first 
of the bombs was dropped, the number of Russians 
who might be atomically destroyed became politically 
more important than the number of Japanese who had 
been disintegrated. 

Immediately after the dropping of the bombs it was 
officially announced that the atomic weapon repre- 
sented a totally new military potential. "Atomic think- 
ing" at once began to dominate Washington. It would 
be absurd to suppose that it took any longer for the 
rulers of Japan to figure out that if the bombing of 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be used to stop the war 
before the Russians got any nearer, the existence of the 
atom bomb in America's hands might later be con- 
verted into a shield over Japan to keep the Russians 
out permanently. The rulers of Japan were maneuver- 
ing to find a way of surrendering that would leave 
them with some of their old power within the country. 

112 The Situation in Asia 

Their only hope was conflict of policy among the 
victors, and especially between America and Russia. 
By using the bombs as a reason for surrendering 
promptly, they could end the war with the power 
position and the advantage of prestige all over the 
Far East heavily in America's favor. If they hesitated, 
the surge of the Russian advance through Manchuria 
would within a week or two immeasurably improve 
the Soviet position. They did not hesitate. 

The Japan that was ready for surrender, with or 
without the atom bomb, was being held together in 
those last days by fear, not by loyalty to the Emperor. 
The avalanche of disaster had already been great 
enough to sweep away awe for the godlike being in 
whose name and for whose glory the Japanese had 
been hurled into war, and to replace it with hatred. 
The priority of fear was the only thing that gave 
people no time to stop, scratch their heads, and say, 
with the wonderment of recognition: "The Emperor 
is a louse!" It can be said with certainty that the 
prestige of the Emperor had in fact become so hollow 
that only a thin outer veneer remained uncracked. 
Immediately after the surrender it threatened to crack. 
Scurrilous jokes about him began to circulate openly; 
there was disaffection even within the Imperial Guard, 
and if there had been any signs of American indif- 
ference there would have been public demonstrations 
against him. What saved the Emperor was General 
MacArthur's skill in treating him with just the right 
amount of dignity over and above what was required 
by correct protocol, and the clear American intention 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 113 

that he should be retained as the symbolic head of state. 

The fear that held priority in Japan in the last weeks 
before surrender was the fear that the Americans 
would land like ravening savages, slaughtering men, 
women, and children. This fear made it seem better to 
die like brave Japanese, facing the beaches, than to 
submit and be slaughtered. It was not the authority 
of the Emperor, ordering surrender, that quelled this 
fear, but the instinctive knowledge of a people who 
had never in all their history had an order from an 
Emperor that was not for the good of the Emperor. 
If the Emperor ordered surrender, he must have fixed 
things up. 

Once MacArthur had shown after the landing that 
his troops were under better discipline than the Jap- 
anese had ever known among their own troops, there 
was a shaky period in which the revulsion of feeling 
made admiration for the Americans paramount over 
respect for the Emperor or any of the other old sym- 
bols of authority. With an admirable feel for the right 
combination of firmness and condescension toward a 
people who had always been used to authority and 
who were emotionally shattered by defeat, General 
MacArthur steadied this feeling and guided it into 
the channels of his New Deal period. 

In this period the representatives of the old au- 
thority were given the fright of their lives, but gradu- 
ally allowed to understand that the Americans would 
not let the wrath of the people work up to a full head 
of steam. The people were given to understand that 
the Americans would grant them a lot more democ- 

114 The Situation in Asia 

racy than they had ever had before, but that they had 
better not try to win any democracy for themselves 
above and beyond what was prescribed in the SCAP 
directives. Political jails were opened. Even Com- 
munists were let out. Labor unions were allowed to 
assert themselves once more. There was liberty of the 
press, radio, the theater, public speech, and assembly 
to a degree altogether surprising under a military oc- 
cupation of a defeated country. 

Eager New Deal beavers slapped together a new 
constitution which was to be the ark of the new 
covenant of democracy. General MacArthur took 
great personal interest in it. Several passages of rich, 
beautiful prose, including a total renunciation of war 
and of the right to maintain armed forces, standing out 
like the phrases in capital letters in a Hearst editorial, 
were universally ascribed to the General himself. It 
was of course officially a Japanese constitution, 
promulgated not by SCAP but by the Japanese au- 
thorities. Japanese delicately intimated that they knew 
what the score was by circulating the story, after the 
Japanese text had been published, "What do you think 
of the new constitution?" "I don't know; I can't read 
English." And indeed, there were many passages ex- 
tremely difficult to translate into intelligible Japanese. 

In spite of its inevitable touches of irony and bathos, 
this was a good period. Real democracy cannot be 
given. It must be earned, and won against opposition. 
Above all, it is impossible to "give" democracy under 
an alien military occupation. What General Mac- 
Arthur really gave to the Japanese people and it was 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 115 

the best and wisest thing in his power to give them 
was a schooling in the practices of democracy. They 
were allowed to act as if they had won and created 
some of the basic rights and duties of democracy. 
They were put through their paces. The difference 
between all this and real democracy is like the dif- 
ference between taking the subway to a riding school 
in Manhattan and being turned loose with a horse in 
Montana and told to find your own way to Arizona; 
but the practice was invaluable for a people who will 
one day sign a peace treaty and see the occupation 
end, and will then have to find their way from their 
own Montana to their own Arizona. 

Then came the period in which policies in Tokyo 
echoed first the approach and then the arrival of the 
80th Congress. The equivalent of the end of price 
controls in America was permission for American 
businessmen to take advantage of the American gov- 
ernment's practical monopoly of control over Japan 
to resume private enterprise. The costs of occupation 
were paid by the taxpayer (though nominally charged 
to the Japanese government, to be paid in some un- 
known future). Any profits that could be made by 
private enterprise stayed private. In order that the 
government, in the public interest, should determine 
the proper scope of business interest, influential busi- 
nessmen were assigned to one official mission after an- 
other and sent out to Japan. 

The equivalent of the Taft-Hartley Act was a 
tightened control of labor unions. Strikes which the 
unions were likely to lose were of course permitted. 

116 The Situation in Asia 

Important strikes which the unions might have won 
were called off by administrative order. The program 
for breaking up the Zaibatsu, the great combined verti- 
cal and horizontal trusts, was put in the icebox. There 
was even an equivalent of the Un-American Activities 
Committee. The Counter-intelligence service combed 
out surviving New Dealers and bounced them back 
to America. 

In this period it became evident that the society of 
Japan is still, like the society of Germany, a sick 
society. Imperialism, like fascism, is a disease that bites 
deep. Those who wish to cure it simply by drafting 
well-worded constitutions and circulating some im- 
proving literature should face the facts. The grip that 
imperialism or fascism gets on a people depends on 
whether they get anything out of it. For decades, long 
before Pearl Harbor, a lot of Japanese got a lot out of 
imperialism. Formosa, Korea, and later Manchuria pro- 
vided not only big profits for big shots, but jobs and 
the interest of travel and the feeling of belonging to a 
superior people for hundreds of thousands of Jap- 
anese who otherwise would never have had anything 
but the humblest employment. Engineers, technicians, 
newspaper correspondents, and traveling salesmen 
benefited as well as army officers. The feeling grew 
that the Japanese were entitled to be better off than 
their neighbors, and to have their neighbors pay for it. 

In their post-surrender New Deal period the Jap- 
anese took their new democracy seriously, because 
that was the period in which it seemed most certain 
that they were going to have to work their own 

Japan Is No body'' s Ally 117 

passage into the future. They could not do so unless 
they abandoned the feelings of superiority and priv- 
ilege. In the 80th Congress period the old disease came 
back on them because the American emphasis on the 
American interest in making Japan the workshop of 
Asia and a bulwark against Russia seemed to assure 
them once more of a higher position in life than the 
one they actually earned: the Americans would sup- 
port them in the style of life to which they had be- 
come accustomed while lording it over the Formosans, 
the Koreans, and the Chinese. 

It is with this feeling well revived and going strong 
that the 80th Congress period of , American policy in 
Japan has merged into the present period. Our policy 
now aims at creating a Japan which is to be the 
counterpart in Asia of the kind of Germany we are 
trying to create in Europe. It is to be less and less a 
conquered enemy, a ward, or even an instrument of 
policy, and to become more and more an overt ally. 
As the workshop of Asia, it is to be closely integrated 
with America, so that American economic policy will 
flow unobstructed through Japan into the rest of Asia. 
As an ally, it is to be not only an ally against Russia, 
but an ally taking precedence over China, our own 
former ally and Japan's former enemy, in which we 
are now so sadly disappointed just as we put great 
faith in the anti-Russianness of Germany, and are sus- 
picious of France, where Communism is too strong 
for our liking and where the workers, not being as 
dependent on us for their food as are the German 
workers, are less docile. 

118 The Situation in Asia 

We have traveled along a double line in reaching 
the present stage of American policy. The mutations 
of policy inside Japan have just been described. In 
addition, there is an aspect of American policy that 
envelops Japan from the outside and links it with 
American policy toward Russia and on the mainland 
of Asia. This external policy has also had its changes. 

Under the concept of policy that prevailed at the 
war's end, Japan was regarded as a dangerous enemy 
which had been defeated with great difficulty. It was 
realized that even in defeat Japan remained indus- 
trially the most powerful nation in Asia. In spite of 
war damage, Japan's engineers could rebuild Japanese 
industry faster than other nations in Asia, short of 
engineers and managerial personnel, could build new 
industries and get them going. Japan's knowledge of 
foreign trade, banking, shipping, and insurance was 
also a reservoir of power to be reckoned with. It was 
then still the prevailing opinion that Russia would be 
economically prostrate for the first few years after 
the war, would need American aid to ease the terrible 
strain, and consequently would on the whole be man- 
ageable in the United Nations. It seemed wise, there- 
fore, to insure against a too rapid revival of Japanese 

It was thought that the policy that suited the situa- 
tion would be to keep Japan's postwar recovery under 
strict control but to do so as part of a broader policy 
of hastening the economic development and recovery 
of the rest of Asia. The Zaibatsu should be broken up. 
Japan should not be allowed a head start in the post- 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 119 

war market. Highly specialized war industries should 
be taken out of Japan altogether, or destroyed. In- 
dustry surplus to a reasonable maintenance standard 
of living should be taken out and allocated to Japan's 
neighbors. Japan's huge surplus of machine tools, 
which are one of the key factors in all modern industry 
and which in small units can also be made serviceable 
in starting up new industries in undeveloped countries, 
should also be distributed to other countries in Asia. 

This view may be summed up by saying that since 
the American occupation could not be made indefinite, 
and since it would be difficult to keep effective control 
over Japan from a distance, the rational safeguard 
would be to make Japan's neighbors in Asia strong 
enough to stand as sentinels. Against strong enough 
neighbors, Japan could not resume aggression. This 
view was later modified less by the strength and tough- 
ness of Russia though Russia made the best talking 
point than by the increasing evidence that the gov- 
ernments which America supported for political 
reasons in China, the Philippines, and later in South 
Korea, were hopelessly incompetent when it came to 
quick or efficient economic reconstruction. In addition 
colonial Asia was already in turmoil and India was 
doggedly negotiating and maneuvering its way toward 
dominion status and partition between the Union of 
India and Pakistan. 

The early view faded out rapidly. It was replaced 
by the view that the next menace to Asia as a whole 
would not be a revived Japan after all, but a Russia 
which had somehow not been bled white by the Ger- 

120 The Situation in Asia 

man war. This fear was quickly reinforced by the 
fear of revolutions all over Asia which might turn in 
sympathy toward Russia. 

The new problem of Russia, or the problem of 
Russia in its new form, could have been dealt with 
in two ways. 

Every single government in Asia to which we were 
politically friendly (with the partial exception of the 
first postwar government of Siam) was a bad govern- 
ment. The colonial governments were passionately 
hated by the peoples over whom they were trying to 
reassert their authority, and it was doubtful whether 
they could impose their authority by force, even with 
considerable aid. The governments of China, the 
Philippines, and later South Korea, were controlled by 
men who had a lust for power and a greed for money 
but no intention to satisfy the demands of their peoples 
for less dictatorship and more representative govern- 

Even Chiang Kai-shek, a genuine war hero whose 
country had resisted Japan longer than any other, was 
surrounded by a Byzantine palace guard of knaves and 
fools and was disregarding the reforms recommended 
by Americans and Chinese as his best weapons of 
political warfare. If the demands of other Chinese 
for more democracy and representative government 
were an aid and comfort to the Communists, then they 
must be crushed too. The people must be obedient to 
the government. When they had been reduced to 
docile obedience the government might, if it saw fit, 
gradually grant rights which would perhaps, in the 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 121 

distant future, enable the people to place their own 
representatives in the government. 

The first alternative, in an over-all policy toward 
Asia, would have been to allow the fall of any govern- 
ment which met with so much internal resistance that, 
without American support, it was bound either to fall 
or to make big compromises. The process of fall 
could have been eased, compromise encouraged, and 
chaotic collapse prevented, if American mediation of a 
Marshall mission kind had been offered in other coun- 
tries than China. One reason why the Marshall mission 
failed in China in 1945-1946, after coming so near to 
success, was the fact that it was the only mission of its 
kind. All Chinese felt instinctively, in spite of the integ- 
rity of General Marshall himself, that the mission was 
an emergency attempt to patch things up temporarily 
and did not represent a general and sustained American 

If there had been such a general American policy, 
newly emerging governments, parties, and movements 
claiming the right of representation could have been 
met with an American cordiality adapted, in each case, 
to the strength of the trend toward representative 
government, constructive and progressive economic 
policies, degree of popular support, and any other 
signs indicating the filling of the political vacuum 
solidly enough to discourage the penetration of Com- 
munism. Within such a general policy, the early New 
Deal trend in Japan could have been continued, on the 
safe assumption that the reform movement in Japan 
would be welcomed by reform movements all over 

122 The Situation in Asia 

Asia, and that a general trend of this kind would serve 
both to check Communism and to prevent the re- 
covery of aggressive militarism in Japan. 

This alternative was not followed. The alternative 
that was followed was determined by the fact that too 
many stomachs in Washington had pits in them, and 
too many of these pits were hollow with the queasy 
feeling that any rapid and general change in Asia 
must somehow be more to the interest of Communism 
and Russia than to the interest of America. To make 
themselves feel more solid, the queasy stomachs 
wanted first of all to steady the whirling world. They 
did not demand authoritarian governments, but they 
wanted strong governments so much that they were 
prepared to find excuses for authoritarian govern- 
ments. First of all they urged, as a practical issue, that 
governments must be helped to "restore order." After 
that it would be time enough to allow the question of 
the control of peoples over governments to come up 
as a debating issue. If strong governments were strong 
enough internally to assert control over their peoples, 
but weak enough externally to be forced to look to 
America for support and therefore for guidance, that 
surely was of no detriment to the American interest. 

It was easy for this drift to merge with the growing 
conviction that it was necessary to set up a "contain- 
ment" of Russia, in order to have a whip hand in 
coming to a general agreement with Russia, and easy 
for both tendencies to merge into the concept of using 
Japan, firmly under American control, as both a work- 
shop for Asia and a bulwark against Russia. As drift 

Japan Is Nobody^s Ally 123 

merged with drift to become a set course of policy, 
two characteristics of politics in Asia were edged into 
the dim background of thought and there forgotten. 

The first of these characteristics is that any govern- 
ment in Asia that is more dependent on American sup- 
port than on the support of its own people is certain 
to convince the people that the American determina- 
tion to contain Russia is victimizing them in a way 
that will make them suffer, whether America succeeds 
or not. They become convinced that they are being 
made satellites, not allies, and that their government, 
instead of representing them, has become a stooge and 
a puppet. They are then prepared to believe that 
American policy is in fact a new imperialism, politi- 
cally determined to stop the growth of representative 
government and economically determined to create 
new colonies in Asia to be exploited by American big 

The second important characteristic of politics in 
Asia was pointed out in Chapter II. No necessity ties 
Japan down to be America's permanent ally in Asia. 
A Japan made strong enough by American subsidy to 
hold an economic ascendancy over the rest of Asia, 
and strong enough to be an American ally against 
Russia if it wants to be, is automatically a Japan strong 
enough to double-cross America and make its own 
deals both with Russia and with the rest of Asia. It is 
true that Japan must be included in the eventual 
balance to be struck between the American interest in 
Asia and the Russian interest. But it is equally true that 
America cannot force the striking of that balance by 

124 The Situation in Asia 

trying to make Japan or any other single country in 
Asia the primary instrument of American policy. The 
general stabilization that will eventually emerge be- 
tween America and Russia will in large part be brought 
about by the realization that Asia cannot be brought 
fully under the control of either of them. It is unwise 
to overlook the historical part played by Japan in 
transforming an Asia under control into an Asia out 
of control. There are Japanese who realize that Japan 
will only be able to become free by taking its place 
not a dominant place in an Asia out of the control 
of either of the two superpowers. 

It is in this light that we must study the real Japan 
that underlies all the other partly historical, partly 
transitory, and partly illusory Japans. This real Japan 
is undergoing internal changes. More than one outcome 
is possible. Our policy problem therefore ranges be- 
yond "what to do with Japan." We must also think of 
the effects in Japan of our policy about Japan, 

Unlike Germany, Japan has no Ruhr. In attempting 
to make Japan the workshop of Asia and a bulwark 
against Russia, there are certain advantages that we 
can exploit; but there are also serious deficiencies to 
be overcome. The balance sheet is not in our favor. 

What Japan does not have is coking coal, iron, oil, 
bauxite for making aluminum, or the capacity to pro- 
duce on a large scale some of the important agri- 
cultural raw materials for industry, such as cotton. 
Japan does not have enough salt to sustain its chemical 
industry or enough wood of the right kind to sustain 
its rayon industry; and both of these were formerly 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 125 

important earners of foreign exchange. In addition, of 
course, Japan has about a 20 per cent deficiency in 
food production; and this problem is aggravated by 
lack of fertilizers, which have to be imported. 

What Japan does have is hydroelectric energy, one 
of the big requirements of both heavy and light in- 
dustry; coal other than coking coal, though not enough 
of it, and silk. Japan's most important resources, how- 
ever, are human: the most advanced and diversified 
technical and managerial know-how in Asia, and the 
largest pool of skilled industrial labor. 

With these resources and in spite of these deficien- 
cies Japan in fact was for a while the workshop of 
Asia. The use of military power was what bridged the 
deficiencies. By imperial control of Korea and For- 
mosa, later of Manchuria, and for a while of much of 
China and all Indo-China, Siam, Malaya, Burma, and 
Netherlands India, Japan was able to plan the extrac- 
tion of raw materials and to regulate processing and 
distribution. The form of control made it possible not 
only to obtain raw materials, but to dictate exchange 
values. Raw materials were extracted at colonial or 
coolie wage rates. When processed, one portion was 
set aside to maintain the military machine that kept 
the whole business going. Another was allocated to 
consumer goods for the countries that produced the 
raw materials. A third, before Pearl Harbor, went into 
world trade and earned dollars and pounds sterling. 

The United States cannot put Japan back in business 
as this kind of workshop. America made enormous 
sacrifices to break Japan's imperial grip on Asia and 

126 The Situation in Asia 

the Pacific. Even war scares about Russia are not 
enough to make American public opinion reverse it- 
self and demand an American reconquest, on Japan's 
behalf, of Japan's old fields of aggression in Asia. War 
scares about Russia inevitably stress the strategic 
importance of Western Europe. It would be strategic 
as well as political folly to send either American troops 
or American-led Japanese troops against nationalist 
resistance in Asia while Russian strength remains in 
Russia, undispersed and uncommitted. 

A program for making Japan once more a workshop 
must depend either on American subsidies or on direct 
agreements between Japan and parts of Asia which 
America cannot control. Direct American grants to 
Japan jumped from $96,000,000 in the fiscal year end- 
ing June 30, 1946, to $292,000,000 in 1947 and $423,- 
000,000 in 1948. In addition, loans; and credits totaled 
$1 16,000,000 in 1947 and $61,000,000 in the fiscal year 
ending in 1948. 3 Adding the costs of actual military 
occupation which nominally are chargeable to the 
Japanese government at some time in the future when 
Japan becomes solvent it is a reasonable estimate that 
the total American expenditure on Japan, including 
military costs, approaches a billion a year. 4 Japan now 

s Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce of the 
U. S. Department of Commerce, Survey of Current Business, 
November 1948. 

4 The attitude of General MacArthurV headquarters 
toward the taxpayer's interest in military costs is revealed by 
the report that Major-General H. J. Casey, army engineering 
officer, when asked by the correspondent of a Chicago news- 
paper for some information about construction and occu- 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 111 

gets its major imports of food and raw cotton from 
the United States, on a government basis. In 1947, 
53 per cent of the value of Japan's imports was in 
grain and starch; 1 3 per cent in raw cotton; and 12 per 
cent in fertilizers. By 1948, Japan attained a favorable 
ratio of eight to one in its exports to the Orient as com- 
pared with imports from other countries, but was able 
to export to the United States only one twenty-fifth 
of the value of its imports from the United States. 5 
These ratios indicate an increasing indebtedness to the 
United States, with no increase in the ability to pay 
off the debt, since the "soft currency" income from 
Japanese sales to Asia is not wanted by the United 

Sums of money can always be juggled. The cost of 
food and cotton sent to Japan can, if it seems advisable 
in the interest of high policy, be charged to the cost of 

pation costs in Japan, allegedly replied that the people of 
Chicago would not be interested in such details. San Fran- 
cisco Chronicle, June 25, 1948. 

The difficulty of getting precise statements on occupation 
costs is not limited to the unwillingness of military spokes- 
men to give out information. The United States Budget is a 
document weighing nearly seven pounds. Details of ex- 
penditures are scattered through it in such a way that large- 
scale research is required to bring together the figures which 
belong under any such general heading as "cost of the occu- 
pation of Japan." It is a curious comment on the relationship 
between the taxes paid by the citizen and the information 
available to the citizen that a breakdown of the budget is in 
fact prepared, giving global totals of expenditure under in- 
clusive headings; but it is circulated only to the President 
and a very few high officials. 

5 John E. Fields, "Far Eastern Trade - 1948," Far Eastern 
Survey, New York, September 22, 1948. 

128 The Situation in Asia 

supporting U. S. farm prices instead of being charged 
to Japan. But in the end there are certain values that 
cannot be juggled, and that confront us with a di- 
lemma. The rock-bottom value of American agri- 
cultural exports is based on American wages, the 
price received by the American farmer, and the 
margins of profit added as the goods pass from hand 
to hand all in American dollars. Cutting these values 
would be cutting the American standard of living. 
But Japan used to obtain food and a great part of its 
cotton from Asia, in soft currencies, at prices geared 
to the lowest standards of living in the world. 

Who is to pay the difference? Is Japan to be charged 
what its food and raw material imports actually cost 
in dollars, or only what they would have cost if pur- 
chased in Asia, with the difference being charged off 
to the American taxpayer? Sooner or later, if the first 
alternative is followed, the Japanese are going to 
squawk that they are being made bondslaves to the 
American standard of living. If the second alternative 
is followed, American taxpayers will make a political 
issue of the fact that we are supporting Japan in- 
definitely on a dole that increases from year to year. 

The outcome of the Chinese civil war may make us 
face this dilemma soon. Until recently, Chiang Kai- 
shek held the railway hub of Mukden in Manchuria, 
while the Chinese Communists besieged it. With the 
railway cut, export traffic could not move to the great 
seaport of Dairen, where the Russians sat tight. The 
issue of whether Dairen should or should not be open 
to international trade, as stipulated by treaty, could 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 129 

not be raised in practical form. Now it can be raised. 
The Chinese Communists have stabilized their control 
both in Manchuria and in adjoining North China. 
Most of the rail net has been restored. 

China will soon be in a position to make economic 
offers to Japan. The northeastern provinces (Man- 
churia), formerly so closely integrated with Japan, 
have a surplus of food to offer. Most of this surplus 
never was marketed in China; the established channels 
of trade do not run in that direction. There will be an 
over-all food deficiency in China until the 1949 har- 
vests, because of the civil war; but after that, offering 
food to Japan would not cause hardships in China and 
make the new government unpopular, because wher- 
ever the Communists have taken over they have in- 
creased food production, controlled distribution, and 
stabilized prices, successfully breaking the old cycle of 
recurring shortages and famines. This food could be 
offered to Japan at prices much lower than food from 
America. Soybeans, of which there are big accumu- 
lated stocks, are useful for many industrial purposes, 
as well as for food. The cake that is left after pressing 
out the bean oil is of high value both as cattle feed and 
as fertilizer, of which Japan is desperately short. 

More important still, the northern and northeastern 
provinces of China are traditionally Japan's greatest 
sources of iron and coking coal, and of salt for the 
chemical industry. Japan formerly used China's iron 
ore and coking coal to make first pig iron and then 
steel. An important variation on this pattern is now 
possible. China could offer pig iron and later, as the 

130 The Situation in Asia 

Chinese iron and steel industries develop, semi- 
processed and processed iron and steel in various forms. 
In this way Japan could retain a useful and profitable 
steel and machine-building industry, which step by 
step could contribute to the industrialization of the 
rest of Asia. A high level of employment could be sus- 
tained, and a full scope of usefulness for Japan's 
managers and technicians. Yet Asia and the world 
would be secured against a revival of Japanese mili- 
tarism and aggression because Japan would no longer 
control the sources of supply. By withholding raw ore 
and supplying Japan only with pig iron and other semi- 
processed materials, China would have absolute power 
to cut off the revival of Japanese war industry. 

Moves and offers of this kind are now practical 
politics. Their political importance is sharpened by 
the fact that Japan, while under American control, is 
not a free agent. China can make offers which flatter 
the Japanese with the prospect of honorable economic 
interdependence, on terms of costs and prices that suit 
both countries. These offers can be worded in such a 
way that if Japan, under American control, is con- 
strained to turn them down and to continue in a 
growing dependence on America and indebtedness to 
America, it will be very difficult for American policy 
to escape looking like a dog in the Japanese manger. 

Such moves would affect the conditions under 
which both America and Russia maneuver for eco- 
nomic, political, and strategic advantage. They would 
also do more than that. They would promote new 
groupings in Japanese domestic politics. Both the labor 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 131 

union movement and the parties of the left would be 
able to press demands for friendly reintegration with 
Asia, based not simply on political sympathy but on 
arguments of solid economic advantage. The effort of 
the Japanese Communists to take over a large part of 
the membership of the Social Democrats would be 
strengthened. General MacArthur would find military 
occupation and administrative control less and less 
adequate for chastening the labor unions, manipulating 
political parties, and jockeying the Communists and 
the rest of the radical left out of position. America 
would slip from ascendancy over the whole of Japan 
to the awkward position of partisan support of the 
right in a divided Japan. 

Rightist interests in Japan are already aware of these 
possibilities, and are preparing their countermoves. At 
the end of 1948 Tateko Horiuchi returned to Japan. 
During the war, he had held a high position in Oc- 
cupied China. At the end of the war, like many other 
top civilian and military Japanese, he was taken over 
by the government of Chiang Kai-shek, and served as 
an advisor to T. V. Soong in South China and the 
ancestral Soong island of Hainan, which since the 
war, with American aid, has been an important sup- 
plier of iron ore to Japan. (Since the function of such 
Japanese had been to make themselves the masters of 
the Chinese people, the use of them by the Kuomin- 
tang after the war was one of. the things that infuriated 
public opinion and undermined support for Chiang 
Kai-shek, because of the implication that a govern- 
ment that would use such people must itself be more 

132 The Situation in Asia 

eager to take over control of the people than to repre- 
sent the people.) 

On his return to Japan Horiuchi trotted out a dif- 
ferent kind of proposal for economic integration be- 
tween Japan and China, 6 Japan, in his view, should 
favor an end to the civil war in China, through politi- 
cal compromise. The rehabilitation of Japan itself 
should then be geared to an economic program in 
South China and especially in Hainan Island, where 
"there is much room left for Japanese technicians to 
utilize their experiences in the development of the 
island." Instead of confining itself to the export of 
textiles and other consumer goods, Japan should take 
part in a program of industrialization, centered in 
South China, that would help China to become self- 

This proposal represents the conservative interest 
in Japan* Turning its back on Russia and on the tradi- 
tional "doorstep" position of Japan in Manchuria and 
North China, it looks toward the southern coast of 
China and toward Southeast Asia, which lies beyond. 
Horiuchi's proposal reveals the subtlety and flexibility 
with which the old big business interests of Japan are 
working for a comeback. 

Without giving any hint that they might, if it ever 
suits them, refuse to let Japan be used as America's 
vanguard against Russia, these interests will as time 
passes steadily build up the emphasis on America's 
obligation to protect them from Russia. By advocating 
a shift of Japan's interest from North China to South 

* Radio Tokyo, in Japanese to Japan, December 29, 1948. 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 133 

China they will put themselves in a position to co- 
operate with America for a few years, at any rate 
if America should experiment with a policy of support- 
ing a rump anti-Communist Chinese government on 
the islands of Formosa and Hainan, with a few foot- 
holds perhaps along the South China coast. 

When Japan's conservatives look south they see be- 
yond South China. By the time the end of the war 
forced them out of colonial Southeast Asia they saw 
perfectly clearly what the next phase of colonial 
politics was going to be like and what opportunities 
it held for them. Japanese conservatives and leftists 
have one thing in common. They realize that as a de- 
feated and occupied nation, Japan has a long and rough 
road to travel to get back to independence and free- 
dom of action in international politics. As a country of 
this kind, situated in Asia, Japan is like the colonial 
countries which are struggling to get as much inde- 
pendence as they can from a Europe backed by 

It is dangerous for America to overlook this fact. 
There is an important area of political maneuver in 
which Japanese conservatives and leftists and right- 
wing and left-wing colonial nationalists can all get to- 
gether. As maneuvering goes on, it will be perfectly 
possible for Japan to emerge, suddenly and without 
warning, and with the hearty participation of some of 
the most powerful Japanese conservatives, in a position 
more anti-American than anti-Russian. Once the occu- 
pation of Japan has ended it will be possible for Japan 
to make such a move at any moment when it appears 

134 The Situation in Asia 

that the combined strength of Japan and the colonial 
peoples has reached a point where they can form a 
solid front against an American-backed Europe. The 
move, when made, might either be permitted without 
interference from Russia and China, or actually be 
assisted by them. 

America is pre-eminently the country that has a 
head-on power conflict with Russia. The other coun- 
tries, even when they are supposedly on the American 
side, do not have exactly the same kind of conflict with 
Russia. They are caught in between. If they cannot get 
out of the way, they may suffer least by staying on the 
American side. If they can get out of the way, they 
may suffer less by getting out of the way. Because of 
the difference in the nature of the conflict, Americans 
are inclined to insist that the ideology of Russian poli- 
tics is absolute, rigid, and driven on by a conviction of 
fate and predestination. People in Europe and Asia, 
even very conservative people, are much more in- 
clined to accept the kind of relativity in Russian and 
Communist ideology that was illustrated in Chap- 
ter IV: the willingness to be satisfied with a "step 
forward" even when it is not a step forward all the 
way to the control of a state by a Communist party. 

Many intermediate steps forward of this kind may 
be taken in Asia in the next ten, twenty, or even fifty 
years that will satisfy Russia if they merely mean a 
weakening of the European and American power 
structure, without putting control into Russia's own 
hands. Russia was quite satisfied when Kemal Ataturk 
carried Turkey a step forward in this direction in the 

Japan Is Nobody's Ally 135 

920's, removing Turkey from the control of Britain 
dthout coming under the control of Russia. 

An Asia out of control may settle into a new posi- 
on in world politics during the next few decades by 
series of landslips, each causing a series of alarming 
-emors, but no general earthquake. During one or 
ciother of these landslips Japan, after talking a won- 
erful anti-Russian line up to the very last moment, 
nd after getting every possible kind of help out of 
Linerica, may see an opening which makes it possible 
D slip out from under America's control without 
oming under Russia's control. And Russian policy, for 
ecades to come, may be guided by the belief that if it 
i possible for any part of Asia to break away from 
European or American control, but not possible to 
ring it either under Russian control or into a f edera- 
.on dominated by Russia, then it is wisest to settle for 
ti Asia out of control. 

The mere possibility of such developments affects 
le American interest in Japan and American policy 
Dward Japan as a part of Asia. The possibility that as 
apan goes so Asia can be made to go is in fact a de~ 
reasing possibility. The increasing probability is that 
3 Asia goes, so Japan will go in its alignments with 
ther countries and in the alignments and oppositions 
f its own political parties. 



IN ALL Asia, China is the country farthest beyond con- 
trol by America, Russia, or Europe, and the least likely 
to be brought under control. This uncontrollability 
results from the way in which the Second World War 
was fought and from the course then followed by the 
civil war in China itself. 

In 1937, when the struggle for survival against 
Japan began, China was controlled by the Kuomin- 
tang, a party which owed nothing to elections or to 
representative forms of government, and which it- 
self appointed not only the national government but 
provincial governments and even the administrative 
officials of counties. In parts of the country where its 
power was unchallenged, the Kuomintang made such 
appointments without consulting anybody. In regions 
where its power was weaker, it accepted and con- 
firmed appointments made by whoever was in po^er 
locally; but the local power was also of a self-appointed 
kind, under control by no process of elected repre- 
sentative government. 

During the war this government, headed by Chiang 

War and Revolution in China 137 

Kai-shek, was driven into the deep hinterland. The 
Japanese occupied nearly half of the country, includ- 
ing most of the highly productive and densely popu- 
lated regions. In Free China Chiang Kai-shek hung on 
grimly in a purely defensive war described officially 
as "trading space for time." Within Free China, the 
Kuomintang tightened all controls, pushing its au- 
thority from the top right down into the villages. 
The alternative of stimulating patriotic enthusiasm by 
calling for popular elections and building a pyramid of 
representative government from the grass roots up to 
the apex occupied by Chiang Kai-shek himself was 
rejected. It was considered that the people were po- 
litically immature, and that representative government 
would only throw into confusion the discipline needed 
for carrying on the war. 

This policy was guided by the forecast, which 
proved to be correct, that Japan was bound to come 
into conflicf either with America and Britain or with 
Russia, that it would then be defeated, and that as a 
by-product of the victory over Japan of some other 
power or powers China would recover full control 
over its own territory. It was assumed that the re- 
covered territories would be in disorder. To restore 
order as quickly as possible, it would be necessary to 
step in at once with disciplined men to be placed in all 
key posts. The Kuomintang accordingly busied itself 
throughout the war with intensive Party training. 
Personnel of all kinds officers, bureaucrats, bank- 
ers, businessmen^ professional men, landlords were 
selected in rotation and put through intensive training 

138 The Situation in Asia 

schools. The course of training was heavily influenced 
by fascist theories, and by the methods of Hitler more 
than those of Mussolini. It incIuHett rigid drilling in 
the dogma of "One Country, One Party, One Leader," 
and in disciplined, automatic acceptance of orders 
coming down the "chain of command." Initiative at 
lower levels was treated as subversive. r 

In Occupied China, the Japanese retorted with a 
Machiavellian program of counterfeiting the Kuomin- 
tang itself. Respectable Chinese precedents for sub- 
mission to authority were culled from the Confucian 
literature. These were blended with suitable excerpts 
from the literature of the Kuomintang. A government 
of collaborators was set up, controlled by Japanese 
"advisors" and "experts," but headed by the traitor 
Wang Ching-wei, who had once been one of the most 
popular and flamboyantly ^nationalist" heroes of the 
Kuomintang. Titles and nominal functions in the 
puppet structure closely imitated those in the Kuomin- 
tang and heavily favored the more prosperous urban 
classes, the landlords, and the richer peasants. It is 
considered unpatriotic in China, quite naturally, to 
admit how effectively this Japanese program worked. 

The Kuomintang appeal to disciplined patriotism 
and blind obedience was ineffective in undermining 
this kind of control by Japanese, collaborators, and 
traitors. What was effective was an angry, spontaneous 
stirring among the people down at the grass roots, 
which began without discipline and gradually evolved 
its own, new kind of discipline. In China as in Europe 
it was soon discovered by the grimmest kind of ex- 

War and Revolution in China 139 

perience that in a resistance movement the previously- 
anonymous character, known only to a few neigh- 
bors, often had a higher survival value as a leader than 
the well-known, widely respected man in outwitting 
the secret police, planted spies, informers, and traitors. 

Men who began as leaders of tiny knots of resistance 
gradually built up their own pyramids of authority in 
districts and wider regions. The men at the tops of 
these pyramids held their power not so much by 
delegating authority downward to their subordinates 
as by accepting responsibility delegated to them up- 
ward from the grass roots. The pyramids that grew 
wider at the base were headed by men who never 
lost their contact with the grass roots. The others 
were discovered and demolished by the Japanese. 

The growth of this kind of mixed political and mili- 
tary resistance movement, both in China and in 
Europe, evolved a rough but very vigorous democracy 
of its own. When resistance begins among small groups 
of neighbors, meeting in secret and in fear, there is apt 
to be a moment when everybody agrees about what 
should be done, but all realize the danger to the man 
who undertakes to get it done. At such moments, 
there is a kind of man to whom people turn, saying 
"Joe is the man to do it. We all know Joe." This kind 
of man who is pushed into being a hero, more than 
the man who romantically steps forward saying "I'll be 
the hero," is likely to develop into the sort of popular 
leader who, while acquiring greater and greater au- 
thority, never loses his democratic sensitivity to the 
interests of the people who have trusted him and 

140 "iThe Situation in Asia 

pushed him forward. During the war, the Chinese 
Communists infiltrated a number of the spontaneous 
resistance groups and won over many of the leaders of 
this type, but many such groups and leaders remained 
quite independent of the Communists. By 1945 it was 
already evident that if there was going to be a civil 
war, it would : ? be decided by the number of such 
groups -and their Iea4ers who came to terms with the 
Kuomintang or the Communists. 

During the war, the Chinese Communists exploited 
an area of political thinking and method in between 
the Kuomintang and the grass roots. They operated 
simultaneously in two ways, as a broad mass movement 
and as a tight, disciplined party with restricted mem- 
bership within the mass movement. Like the Kuomin- 
tang, the Communist Party gave its membership re- 
peated indoctrination drills during the war, rotating 
members through special schools and preparing 
"cadres" to be pushed forward as rapidly as possible 
into territory recovered from the Japanese at the end 
of the war. Like the spontaneous grass-roots move- 
ments, and unlike the Kuomintang, the mass movement 
side of Communist activity recognized that its own 
survival would depend on popular support, and there- 
fore provided channels through which popular sup- 
port could be guided into active resistance against the 

The Communists set out to win a wider leadership 
by making themselves more proficient in popular 
leadership than the spontaneous movements. Out of 
guerrilla warfare and sabotage they evolved a superior 

War and Revolution in China 141 

type of mobile warfare capable of being co-ordinated 
and synchronized over wide areas through a combina- 
tion of skilled staff work and the careful training of 
detachment leaders in the proper balance between 
carrying out a general directive and exercising initia- 
tive locally. 

On the political side the Communists evolved a 
combined art and science of studying the needs of the 
people, evaluating the desires, hopes, and fears of each 
class within society, and analyzing their own resources 
as a party in military leadership, political propaganda, 
control of economic resources, and ability to organize. 
They steadily improved their skill in combining all 
these factors in such proportions as to group behind 
themselves the maximum possible thrust of popular 
approval and support, while themselves retaining con- 
trol of the direction of the thrust. 

Like all Communists, Mao Tze-tung and his fol- 
lowers believe that the impulse toward revolution 
may arise spontaneously, but that the success of any 
revolution is directly proportional to the degree that 
the men who are leading and directing it kn^w what 
they want, and how to go about getting what they 
want. Stalin quotes from Lenin: "None other than 
Lenin said and repeated tens of times the well-known 
thesis that 'Without revolutionary theory there can be 
no revolutionary movement! " x Both the writings of 
Mao Tze-tung and the history of his leadership of the 

1 "Historicus," in the article on "Stalin on Revolution,*' in 
Foreign Affairs already cited above in Chapter IV; italics 
as in original. 

142 The Situation in Asia 

Chinese Communists prove that there is no diff erence 
between his point of view and that of Stalin in this 

What went on in Free China, Communist China, 
and Occupied China during the war made inevitable 
a race, when Japan surrendered, to see who could take 
over the most territory. The surrender came at a 
moment when no large Chinese forces had been able 
to roll forward in a general offensive of their own, 
gaining prestige by taking back large blocks of terri- 
tory. The Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek went into 
the race with their prestige damaged by the fact that 
in their last large-scale actions before V-J Day they 
had been entirely on the defensive and had been smash- 
ingly defeated by the Japanese, but with the advantage 
of the widely known fact that it was they who had the 
official support of America. The Communists, on the 
other hand, had stepped up the intensity of their mobile 
warfare in the last months of the war, and conse- 
quently went into the race for new territory with their 
prestige at the highest level that it had attained during 
the war. 

As the race opened out, Chiang Kai-shek was given 
the further advantage of direct American help. Ameri- 
can forces from the Pacific, landing on the coast of 
China, took over key points and held them for the 
Kuomintang, although many of these points were 
closer to Communist-held territory than to any Kuo- 
mintang army. Kuomintang troops were ferried to key 
inland and coastal points by American air lifts and 
naval vessels. In the meantime the Russians, in the last 

War and Revolution in China 143 

week of the war, had broken through into the north- 
eastern provinces (Manchuria) . Here the Russian in- 
fluence and the American influence on postwar China 

There are several aspects of this postwar phase, pre- 
paratory to general civil war, which have never been 
made sufficiently clear jto the American public. In 
the first place, while the Russians still held key cities 
in Manchuria, American planes and ships were pour- 
ing Kuomintang troops into Manchuria, and into 
North China for deployment into Manchuria. At the 
same time the Chinese Communists who were swarm- 
ing across country into Manchuria were getting there 
on their own feet, not by Russian transportation. 

In the second place, the Russians withdrew from 
Manchuria before the Americans withdrew from 
North China. When they withdrew, they left great 
stocks of captured Japanese equipment. Very few of 
these arms went straight into the hands of the Chinese 
Communists. There were at this time in Manchuria 
only small remnants of the old resistance movement, 
most of which had been crushed by the Japanese; 
but all over Manchuria local people picked up the 
surrendered Japanese arms stacked by the Russians 
and stood by to see what was going to happen next. It 
was then a question whether the Manchurian Chinese 
would find it easier to deal with the Kuomintang or 
with the Communists. When the archives are eventu- 
ally opened it will be proved that all this was known 
in detail to American intelligence men at the time. 

In the third place, where the Kuomintang got hold 

144 The Situation in Asia 

of territory because of the Americans, it got it because 
the Americans advanced. Where the Communists got 
hold of territory because of the Russians, it was after 
the Russians had withdrawn, and in part because the 
Russians had withdrawn. It would be hard to exag- 
gerate the psychological importance of this point in 
Chinese politics. 

Controversies over the policies of China's allies in 
this respect link up with controversies in China's own 
politics. Even before civil war gained such headway 
that it had to be fought to a finish, the Kuomintang 
pressed hard on its claim that territory which had been 
defiled by the presence of the Japanese could only 
be "restored to Chinese sovereignty" by being taken 
over by accredited troops and agents of the Kuomin- 
tang. Because of the Russians and fear of what the 
friends of the Russians might get away with there was 
special emphasis on this doctrine in Manchuria; but 
the same doctrine was asserted everywhere in China. 
The fact that the Japanese had gone was not sufficient. 
Nor was the fact that the people living in such ter- 
ritories were Chinese, who were capable of maintain- 
ing order and of electing people to represent them 
before the government, or in the government. 

In "China proper," south of the Great Wall, Kuo- 
mintang intransigence on this point was devastatingly 
effective in turning away local resistance organizations 
and pushing them into the arms of the Communists. 
Wherever resistance had flourished, the people were 
afraid that in a general reshuffle, with the Japanese 
gone and new authorities coming in, there would be 

War and Revolution in China 145 

grabbing right and left for properties that had changed 
hands several times during the years of Japanese occu- 
pation. They were afraid of returning landlords, who 
had been sitting out the war in Free China, who might 
want to collect rents for years back. They suspected, 
all too often quite rightly, that the Kuomintang cadres 
who were coming in to take over were fat cats, look- 
ing for cream. They felt that their only security lay 
in insisting on their right to go on being represented 
by the men who had shown themselves trustworthy 
leaders during the war. As soon as the Kuomintang 
tried to oust such men, while the Communists offered 
to accept them in the expanding "liberation move- 
ment" with full right to represent their villages and 
districts, the people tended to edge over toward the 
Communist side. 

In Manchuria, the Kuomintang version of "restora- 
tion of sovereignty" was even more disastrous. The 
Manchurian Chinese had wanted to fight in 1931, 
when the Japanese first attacked them. The Kuomin- 
tang view at that time had been that it was too soon 
to fight; the northeasterners had better sweat it out 
until some time in the future, which turned out to 
be fourteen years away. Moreover the Manchurian 
Chinese is a kind of Chinese Texan. He is often called, 
by foreigners, a separatist, which he is not. His atti- 
tude is exactly like that of the Texan who considers 
that it would be a perversion of democracy for Wash- 
ington to send anybody to Texas to mind Texas's 
business, while the essence of democracy is for Texas 
to send as many people as possible to Washington to 

146 The Situation in Asia 

mind the business of the other forty-seven states. 
Manchurian Chinese "separatism" has always de- 
manded a. combination of "State rights" and strong 
Manchurian representation in the national govern- 

The Kuomintang, during the war, showed itself 
an incompetent Tammany. It did not get young, en- 
thusiastic men down from the northeast, indoctrinate 
and train them so that at the end of the war they 
could do the taking over in Manchuria. At the end 
of the war the Kuomintang turned up at the gates of 
Manchuria with a lot of carpetbaggers from the 
Yangtze Valley who could not even talk the local 
dialect properly. The northeasterners were as out- 
raged as Texans would be if, say, they had been 
occupied for fourteen years by Mexico, and a Re- 
publican Administration in Washington then sent 
down a lot of deserving Republicans from Maine with 
the peremptory order that until these men took over 
Texas, United States sovereignty in Texas could not 
be regarded as restored. 

The Communists, lightly armed and hiking into 
Manchuria by the hard overland route through Inner 
Mongolia, had a bad time at first against fresh Kuo- 
mintang troops with American equipment; but they 
had an easy time of it politically. All they had to say 
to the Manchurian Chinese was, "They're trying to 
pull the same raw stuff on you that they're trying to 
put over on us. How about getting together?" 

Full-scale civil war was preceded by a year and a 
half of military and political maneuvering. Toward 

War and Revolution in China 147 

the end of 1945 General George C. Marshall was sent 
out to China, where by that time General Patrick J. 
Hurley had become a noisy failure as Ambassador. 
The frame of reference within which he was to work 
was indicated by a statement made by President Tru- 
man on December 15, 1945; among the things that the 
United States then "believed essential" were truce be- 
tween the Kuomintang and the Communists and "a 
national conference of representatives of major po- 
litical elements," to develop "a solution which will 
bring about the unification of China." 

General Marshall failed. He was fairer than the 
Kuomintang was, not only to the Chinese Commu- 
nists but to all minority groups which were trying to 
get themselves into business as political parties by 
lining up with the popular demand for representative 
government. His crippling handicaps were two. As al- 
ready pointed out, it seemed to the Chinese that he 
did not represent a general American policy toward 
all countries, but an emergency policy of patching 
things up in China. More important still, though per- 
sonally a fair and dispassionate mediator, he did not 
represent a neutral country. All during the period of 
his mission, the Kuomintang kept accumulating Amer- 
ican supplies and American transportation kept mov- 
ing Kuomintang troops into North China and Man- 
churia. 2 

When General Marshall gave up his mission and 

2 For a vivid description of this period by an eyewitness 
who covered a great deal of territory, see Richard E. Lau- 
terbach, Danger From the East, New York, 1947. 

148 The Situation in Asia 

returned to America to become Secretary of State he 
issued, in January 1947, his famous report to the Presi- 
dent on China. In it he blamed extremists of both sides 
for the troubles of China, and praised a "splendid 
group of men" in the middle who could, if allowed, 
do a great deal for China. 3 Separately from this report 
he denied that there was any "significant aid" from 
Russia to the Chinese Communists, thus making it pos- 
sible to handle the Russian issue separately from Chi- 
nese internal politics, though the two problems could 
still be combined if necessary. This Marshall policy 
was a statesmanlike effort to secure for the United 
States a position of free maneuver. It was obvious that 
if significant aid from the Russians began to become 
evident, the United States would have justification 
for re-entry. At the same time the Kuomintang was in 
effect warned that if it wanted more active American 
support, it should produce policies capable of win- 
ning wide popular approval in China, in order to 
give the United States something hopeful to support. 

The first damage to this position of maneuver was 
inflicted by President Truman. His Truman Doctrine, 
proclaimed early in 1947, off ered support to any coun- 
try claiming to be under pressure either from Russia 
or from its own Communists with no reforms stipu- 
lated and no questions asked. A year later the 80th 
Congress tied up in a neat package the goods first laid 
on the counter by President Truman. In voting funds 
to implement the Marshall Plan it told the Secretary 
of State that he would get the money for Europe 

3 For text, see Lauterbach's book, Danger From the East. 

War and Revolution in China 149 

only after he had first trotted back to the State De- 
partment to draft a parallel plan for China and the 
money for China was subtracted from the Marshall 
Plan for Europe. He was, to use the ugly word for it, 
blackmailed into destroying what remained of the 
position of free maneuver in China policy which he 
himself had set up. 

All through 1947 and the first part of 1948 the 
Kuomintang drove ahead hard in the civil war, con- 
vinced by the general trend of American policy that 
they need make no concessions and that if they got 
into difficulties America would be forced to bail 
them out. The middle groups which Marshall had 
attempted to encourage were put out of business. 
Weak and pliable men were bribed or intimidated* 
Tougher men were killed by political gangsters, or 
driven into exile, or into Communist territory. Eco- 
nomically, the cities were plundered by black-mar- 
keteers who had Kuomintang ward boss protection. 
In the country, the landlords were given power to 
collect back rents for the war years. Peasants were 
conscripted into the army and for transport work. 

On the military side, the Kuomintang commanders 
believed that if they held the "nerve center" cities 
and the connecting railways they could paralyze or 
control the nonindustrialized countryside/ But mod- 
ern industry has not yet been integrated with the 
whole economic complex to a degree that makes such 
a strategy possible in China. In 1947 and 1948 the 
Communist way of fighting a civil war began to get 
the upper hand. First the Kuomintang-held cities north 

150 The Situation in Asia 

of the Yellow River and in Manchuria were isolated. 
Then the railways were harried. The rural popula- 
tion was organized, primarily through mutual help 
units, in such a way that food production could be 
kept up and at the same time a surplus of manpower 
provided for military service and transportation. The 
Communists maintained both mobile "professional" 
armies and home-guard militia units. Redistribution 
of land convinced the peasants that both in the army 
and in the militia their sons were fighting to protect 
their own property by preventing the return of the 
landlords and the Kuomintang. In the meantime, in 
Kubmintang-held territory, the peasants were dis- 
affected and gave help to Communist raiders, because 
their sons were being conscripted to protect the land 
of the landlords, and not to defend any interest of 
their own. 

In the last months of 1948, as the first surrounded 
cities in Manchuria fell, the Communists won from 
the surrendering Kuomintang troops the weapons that 
were to prove decisive:, light, mobile American artil- 
lery. The Kuomintang, shutting itself up in cities, had 
immobilized this artillery. The Communists, exploit- 
ing mobility to the full, won a military superiority that 
grew more and more devastating. In the wholesale sur- 
renders of Mukden and Chinchow alone, the Commu- 
nists captured American equipment valued at more 
than the $125,000,000 of the 1948 program of military 
aid to Chiang Kai-shek. By the end of the year they 
were blasting their way into cities and drawing circles 
of fire around Kuomintang armies in the field that 
were attempting to withdraw from city to city. The 

War and Revolution in China 151 

surrender of complete Kuomintang armies, in pockets, 
became commonplace. At the same time, industrial 
workers in cities such as Tsinan began to become im- 
portant: occupying and defending their factories, they 
foiled the Kuomintang scorched-earth policy of de- 
stroying industry in a city that could be held no 

By 1949, there was a new and different China, con- 
fronting American policy with baffling problems. 
Clearly, the Communist ascendancy had become so 
decisive that it could not be reversed. Clearly, the 
Kuomintang had not been defeated for lack of aid. 
It had had the use of an unchallenged air force, pro- 
vided and trained by Ameripa. It had had an Amer- 
ican-provided naval force to control the coast. It 
had started the civil war with some thirty modern, 
American-equipped divisions, many of them Ameri- 
can-trained. Defeat had been largely due to the 
demonstrated inability of the high command to use 
the lavish American aid provided. It had also been 
largely due to lack of morale among the troops. 
American-trained troops surrendered with the same 
alacrity as raw provincial levies, the moment they 
had the opportunity. The American artillery, which 
proved so effective in Communist hands, continued to 
be manned almost entirely by American-trained gun- 
ners. Civil and administrative disintegration matched 
military collapse. Kuomintang China withered on the 
vine not from lack of American economic aid, but 
from misuse of it, partly through corruption and 
partly through sheer incompetence. 

The outcome of the war was determined not so 

152 The Situation in Asia 

much by the striking power of the Communists as by 
the galloping process of collapse in the Kuomintang 
armies and government structure. As vast territories 
toppled into the laps of the Communists they were 
faced with a serious shortage of leadership, particu- 
larly of men with experience in the administration of 
cities. With a very small number of actual Commu- 
nists in relation to the enormous total population, there 
was no question of converting or indoctrinating. The 
first problem was to administer. And the primary ques- 
tion was not the degree of control or dictatorship 
they might be able to impose but whether they would 
be able to give the people enough to prevent chaos. 

The resulting government cannot be a "Commu- 
nist government." It will have to be a coalition gov- 
' eminent, because in ordex to sdmiidster without chaos 
\the Communists must d:-al with many groups. The 
outcome will be something quite different from the 
coalition that could have been obtained in China when 
General Marshall was negotiating there, and might 
have been obtained if military aid to the Kuomintang 
had been suspended. Coalition in 1946 would have 
meant a political coalition of non-Communists and 
the Communist Party, with the balance of military 
power on the non-Communist side. In such a coalition 
the parties in between the Kuomintang and the Com- 
munists, though small and weak themselves, would 
have been able to influence the direction followed by 
either the Kuomintang or the Communists. 

In coalition in 1949, the non-Communists can ex- 
pect-to wield no more than a moderating influence. 

War and Revolution in China 153 

They may be able to slow down the pace at which 
the Communists move, but not to change the direction 
in which they are moving. 

In the kind of coalition that is possible in 1949 old 
Marshal Li Chi-sen and the "splinter groups" of lib- 
eral exiles in Hong Kong will have a limited and spe- 
cialized importance. They took refuge in Hong Kong 
because they opposed Chiang Kai-shek but did not 
have the power to oppose him actively. They are 
therefore unable to make power bargains with the 
Communists. They will be primarily symbols of the 
fact that the Communists are not using their own 
power to exterminate political liberals and the edu- 
cated middle classes. Some individual liberals like 
Sun Fo, put on the war criminal list by the Commu- 
nists because they stayed with Chiang Kai-shek too 
long, will have great difficulty getting off the list, 
great difficulty getting into a coalition government, 
and little influence if they do get in. Although Sun 
Fo bears the name of his famous father, Sun Yat-sen, 
his political weakness is that he represents only a small 
clique of bureaucrats in the Legislative Yuan, which 
has always been intellectually pretentious but po- 
litically powerless. There is no large class, even of in- 
tellectuals, that would vote for him all over the coun- 
try. He has no organization in any geographical 
region. Nor does he have at his disposal a body of 

The major elements out of which a coalition can 
now be built are geographical regions, armed forces* 
and social classes. The powerful Mohammedan lead- 

154 The Situation in Asia 

ers of the provinces of Ninghsia, Chinghai, and parts 
of Kansu may yet be able to make deals with the 
Communists even though they have been put on the 
war criminal list. The Communists are as anxious to 
prove that they can get on with the Mohammedans as 
they are to win support of the Mongols. Practically 
every nation in Asia has important minority problems. 
It is a standard operating procedure of the Commu- 
nists to get the minorities on their side, as far as pos- 
sible, before tackling problems of revolution among 
the majorities. 

Other local war lords are quite likely to be able to 
strike bargains with the Communists in the western 
and southwestern provinces of Szechuan, Yunnan and 
Kweichow, and in many territories south of the 
Yangtze. In all these provinces there is an old tradition 
of keeping on good terms with the Central Govern- 
ment, while avoiding interference by the Central 
Government as far as possible. Before the civil war 
spreads into these provinces, local big shots who have 
treated the people with reasonable decency realize 
that they have a much better chance of negotiating 
before fighting has begun than after it has started. 

By far the most delicate problem for the Com- 
munists, however, is that of political coalition be- 
tween social classes. Coming to power primarily 
through the drive of a peasant rebellion, they now 
confront both the urban middle classes and the urban 
industrial workers. The middle classes accept the 
Communists with trepidation, but have no will to 
fight them. They are war-weary, and the Kuomintang 

War and Revolution in China 155 

looted the national economy from 1945 to 1948 so 
thoroughly that the middle class no longer has the 
strength to be independent. It must either seek a 
foreign alliance or lean on some stronger political 
group in China. Many middle-class Chinese would 
rather work for an independent Chinese state, even 
if they cannot control it, than for foreign patrons 
who, however well-intentioned, could not help restor- 
ing the old and hated subordination of China's in- 
terests to foreign interests. They therefore fear the 
Russians who may be behind the Chinese Communists 
more than they fear the Communists themselves; but 
they try to comfort themselves with the assurance that 
the Communists will need their knowledge of business 
and administration. 

For this they have some justification. It is imperative 
for the Communists, in order to consolidate their 
power, to give at least relative peace, order, and pros- 
perity as a contrast to the long nightmare of the war 
of survival against the Japanese, followed by civil war. 
Throughout both the war and the civil war, they have 
in fact encouraged free private enterprise more than 
has the Kuomintang. While the Kuomintang placed 
politicians in positions where they could loot the in- 
dustries and business enterprises to which they were 
attached, the Communists appear to have worked out 
a simple rule of thumb: they encouraged free private 
enterprise, both in farming and in urban production, 
because it was the simplest way of increasing the sup- 
ply of food and commodities for the community. 

As the Communists progressed from local power to 

156 The Situation in Asia 

control of the national balance of power their policy- 
drafting councils began to issue both invitations and 
warnings. Managerial, service, and technical personnel 
of all kinds were invited to stay on the job, with wages 
and salaries guaranteed and with standards of living 
protected by price controls. Along one important 
stretch of railroad taken over in 1948 it was claimed 
that 70 per cent of all employees decided to stay, in- 
cluding enough of the more highly paid supervisory 
staff to put the line quickly back into service again. 
Until the Communists took their first big cities in 
Manchuria, they had never administered a municipality 
with a population of more than about 100,000 popula- 
tion. In Manchuria they began training cadres to take 
over other big cities; but they are still seriously short 
of people who know how to operate city power and 
light services, keep water running in the taps, and run 
a bus or streetcar schedule. They know that con- 
scripting such people only leads to confusion; their 
shortages compel them to try to offer terms that make 
life as bearable as possible for as many people as pos- 

Most important of the warnings issued are those to 
labor unions, against "excessive leftism." Workers are 
being told that they must not strike indiscriminately, 
demand get-rich-quick wages, or shorten working 
hours unreasonably. Production must be kept going, 
and the kind of owner who is not simply a profiteer 
but is himself active in creating production must be 
allowed conditions that encourage him to stay in pro- 

It is obvious that for people who believe in the 

War and Revolution in China 157 

tenets of Marxism all such arrangements must be make- 
shifts, and will last only until the Communists can 
guide the changes they want into channels that con- 
form to their ideas of what human society is and how 
it works. As revolutionaries in practice, they have come 
to power through the support of peasants. As revolu- 
tionaries in theory, they believe that the rising class is 
the industrial workers; it is this class, according to their 
books and theories, that is destined first to win as- 
cendancy over all other classes and then, at some time 
in the future, to create a permanently classless society. 
They clearly aim to make their coalition government 
of China basically a coalition between peasants, and 
workers* with the middle classes attached as it were at 
one side, in positions in which they can contribute to 
administration and production, but without the power 
to force any deviation from ultimate goals. But this 
aim cannot be rapidly achieved. 

The crux of the problem, for the Communists, is the 
fact that the peasants, whom they consider the less 
revolutionary class, are in the ascendancy and hold the 
balance of armed power. They are the liberators. The 
industrial workers, who in Marxist terminology are the 
more revolutionary class, are the liberated. They are 
the minority both in numbers and in power. Yet Marx- 
ist doctrine requires that they be so placed in the coali- 
tion that ultimately they can hold the decisive power. 
In this problem lies the explosive potential that will 
dominate both the internal politics of China and the 
relations between a Communist-dominated China and 
a Communist-ruled Russia. 

The peasants in Communist China are today the 

158 The Situation in Asia 

strongest political reality, because they form more than 
80 per cent of the population, and because they have 
private property in land and arms to defend it with, 
Ever since 1928 when the Communists lost the cities 
and retreated into the most backward rural districts 
Mao Tze-tung has been rising to supreme leadership 
by slow stages, each stage marked by bitter disputes 
with others who did not believe, as he did, that the 
Communists could survive and ultimately win domina- 
tion in China by relying primarily, and at times almost 
exclusively, on peasant support. For the past ten years 
at least the primary device in expanding Communist 
control has been the expropriation of the land of land- 
lords and the richest peasants, and the distribution of it 
to poor and "middle" peasants not as collectivized 
property but as private property. The result is that at 
the present time the center of gravity of Communist 
power is still in rural China, whereas in Russia by 
1918-1919 it was already definitely in the cities and 
the factories. 

During the resistance against Japan and the civil war 
since then the identification of the peasant with private 
property has been peculiarly intensified. In the fluid 
phases of guerrilla warfare, the Communist practice in 
territory which they could "liberate" only temporarily 
was to distribute land, then warn the peasants that the 
Communists could not protect their new ownership 
for them. Instead, they issued to the peasants as many 
rifles as they could spare, and moved on to other dis- 
tricts. The peasants then had to organize themselves by 
simple town meeting methods to decide who should 

War and Revolution in China 159 

serve in the village militia, who should cultivate the 
land for the men on service, and so forth. By 1949, 
many millions of peasants had come to feel thoroughly 
comfortable in a triple combination of ownership of 
land, experience in the use of arms to defend their 
ownership, and rough but workable town meeting 
democracy for the definition of rights, the assignment 
of duties, and the election of representatives. 

Such a combination never developed among the 
peasants in Russia. Lenin used the Russian peasants to 
help overthrow the Tsarist state, but at the same time 
sidetracked them and prevented them from controlling 
the revolution, when he invited them to seize the land 
for themselves. Bolshevik organization was strongest 
among the industrial workers; and industry was more 
highly developed and widely distributed in Lenin's 
Russia than it is in China today. Unlike the Chinese 
Communists, the Bolsheviks worked outward from 
the cities to bring the countryside under control. Farm 
collectivization became possible only when the Bol- 
sheviks had assembled enough tractor brigades to be 
able to send out "expeditionary forces" to plow col- 
lectivized land on behalf of the poor peasants when the 
rich peasants attempted to resist collectivization by 
limiting cultivation. From the anti-Communist point 
of view, the Russian Revolution was finally decided 
when the collective-minded industrial workers were 
able to crush the private-property-minded peasants. 
From the Communist point of view, it was decided 
when the industrial workers were able to "liberate" the 
poor peasants by crushing the rich peasants, and to 

160 The Situation in Asia 

give farming a quasi-industrial character by the or- 
ganization of tractor-powered collectives. 

In China, on the other hand, it may be conceded 
that the Communists hold the confidence of the peas- 
ants to such an extent that they can probably do more 
by persuasion, with less resort to coercion, than any 
previous revolutionaries in history. But the Commu- 
nists cannot indulge in experiments which the peasants 
do not accept, because the armed and organized peas- 
ants would be able to resist them just as they have 
hitherto resisted the return of the landlords. 

The Chinese Communists have developed with con- 
siderable success their own substitute for collectiviza- 
tion. With each family still owning its farm as private 
property, labor is organized in the busiest farming sea- 
sons in co-operatives which work on each farm in turn, 
getting more done in a shorter time than would be pos- 
sible if each family worked separately. This method 
achieves about as much rationalization and technical 
improvement as is possible when work is limited to 
human labor and crude hand tools, with few animal- 
drawn plows and practically no power-driven ma- 
chines. Under such conditions collectivization of the 
actual ownership of the land, merely for the sake of 
Marxist orthodoxy, would bring no improvements, 
because tractors and other machines are not available 
to supersede the voluntary work co-operatives which 
the peasants like because they bring in more grain than 
the old way of working. 

Revolution cannot be carried further among the 
Chinese peasants until the urban workers have been 

War and Revolution in China 161 

organized and made as loyal to the Communists as the 
peasants are, and until industrial production has been 
increased and improved to the point where it becomes 
possible to invade rural China with machines. When 
the Communists do take in hand the organizing of in- 
dustry and the industrial workers, however, the eco- 
nomic center of gravity will begifl to shift, and so will 
the political center of gravity. Long association with 
the peasants has opened the way to power in the higher 
ranks of the Communist military and political leader- 
ship for men of peasant origin. Up through these ranks 
there will now begin to thrust new claimants to leader- 
ship industrial workers less experienced as Commu- 
nists, but demanding rapid promotion and more au- 
thority because of the importance of the interests they 
represent. It can be predicted with absolute certainty 
that there will be changes in the top ranks of the Com- 
munist leadership, and that these changes will be ac- 
companied by changes of policy. What cannot be pre- 
dicted accurately is the rate of change. 



ALL political theory is limited by the conditions to 
which it is applied. The Chinese Communists can no 
more behave as if China were just like Russia than the 
Kremlin could behave as if Russia were just like China. 
We must not allow speculation about other people's 
dogmas to distract our attention from the practical 
limitations that will determine just how Communist 
the new government in China can be and to what ex- 
tent it can be dominated or influenced by Russia. 

China is part of a complex situation. While the num- 
ber of machines and technicians that Russia may be 
able to spare for China will be critical in determining 
China's relations with Russia, the ability of a Com- 
munist-controlled China to offer semi-processed raw 
materials to Japan in return for machines could stimu- 
late in Japan a demand for the ending of American 
economic control. America, in turn, is the greatest po- 
tential supplier of capital, capital goods, and techni- 
cians for China; and if they can get what they need 
from America, it will be practical politics for the Com- 
munists to slow down their revolutionary consolida- 
tion to an evolutionary pace. 

China, Russia, and America 163 

There is a tendency to assume that China's relations 
with Russia will be determined by the fact that the 
Chinese Communists are a junior Marxist party which 
will unquestioningly accept the decisions of Moscow. 
The truth is that in China devotion to nationalism and 
national interests is more powerful among more people 
than devotion to Marxism and Russian interests. At- 
tempts by the Russians to make the Russian interest 
override the Chinese interest could easily bring into 
being a Chinese Titoism. 

The rise of Titoism in Yugoslavia has shown that 
there can be decentralization as well as centralization 
in world Communism, and that the politics of repul- 
sion, as well as of attraction, can operate between 
Communist states just as they do between other states. 
Tito was the first Communist rebel against Moscow 
who was able to carry with him not merely a little 
fragment of a party but a government and a state. 
China, with a population of about 450,000,000 people, 
is infinitely more important than Yugoslavia with its 
16,000,000 people. 

A Communist Party has come to power in China 
with even less help from Russia than in the case of 
Yugoslavia. To hold power, it obviously does not need 
to rely on the Russian Red Army. China is the only 
Communist-controlled country in the world with a 
population larger than that of Russia about twice as 
large and with a victorious army of several million 
men. Its top political and military leadership is not 
Moscow-trained. These basic facts are so important 
that they are capable of changing the whole internal 

164 The Situation in Asia 

balance and cohesion of world Communism. If the 
Chinese Communists gravitate toward a political cen- 
ter in Russia, we shall have one kind of world. If they 
maintain their own political center of gravity in China, 
we shall have a decidedly different kind of world. 

It must be added that from the Russian point of 
view there is no urgent need to push beyond the pres- 
ent state of affairs in China. A China which America 
is unable to control is enough to safeguard Russia's 
continental flank in Asia. A thoroughly Communized 
China would give Russia no great advantage in offen- 
sive strategy against America. Russia is under no com- 
pulsion either to exhort the Chinese Communists to 
move quickly from coalition government to Commu- 
nist dictatorship or to weaken its policy in Europe by 
detaching large numbers of men and quantities of 
material to carry out a policy of "taking over" China. 
On the other hand, in the many fields where there is 
no conflict of Chinese and Russian national interest, 
China will now cordially support Russia. 

Russia, if it tried to take over China, would run into 
limitations on its power that would be different from 
those that baffled first Japan and then America; but the 
limits would be there. The Japanese, watching Amer- 
ica's failure to control the situation in China through 
the Kuomintang, have been giggling in their kimono 
sleeves. In a queer way, it has helped to restore their 
self-respect. It has also given them a new respect for 
China, which is widely reflected in Japanese publica- 
tions. The Japanese began by trying to do in China 
exactly what we later tried to do. They tried it after 

China, Russia, and America 165 

much more thorough -preparation, -and with a wider 
and deeper expert knowledge of the language, litera- 
ture, history, traditions, and social and economic struc- 
ture of China. They failed, and it now comforts them 
to see that we, with our immense weight of money and 
materials, have failed too. ^* 

We havs forgotten, all too quicHy, that before the 
Japanese invaded China on a large scale they tried for 
years to take over the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai- 
shek personally. They did not want to conquer China. 
They wanted to master-mind the Chinese government, 
and to train and equip Chinese armies and provide the 
know-how for the industrial exploitation of China, in 
order to build up a watertight bulkhead sealing Russia 
off from Eastern Asia. Only when they failed did they 
try the direct invasion of China as a second-best idea. 

It took three years and from two to four billion dol- 
lars of American money to prove the uselessness and 
waste of an American attempt to imitate this early 
Japanese policy in China. The fault did not lie with 
the State Department. From the beginning Secretary 
Marshall and the State Department's career experts on 
China were convinced that China was too big, too 
lacking in communications and in the stiffening frame- 
work of modern forms of economic and political or- 
ganization to be successfully masterminded by us. The 
blame for optimistically believing that the Chinese 
would go on acting as cannon fodder forever if we 
would only give them guns and call them heroes lies 
on the fire breathers in die 80th Congress and the tom- 
tom beating HI the jingoistic sections of the press. Had 

166 The Situation in Asia 

it not been for them Secretary Marshall could have 
kept our interests, our strategic position, and our pres- 
tige from being so heavily involved in the collapse of 
the Kuomintang. 

While there has been severe damage to American 
prestige and to the American power position, these 
losses cannot automatically be transposed to the other 
side of the ledger as Russian profits and gains. The 
military aspect of the situation is an example. America 
exercised a large measure of indirect control over the 
Kuomintang armies. That control was lost along with 
the armies which surrendered to the Communists with 
their American equipment intact. But this does not 
mean that either the Communists or the Russians 
standing in the background have acquired a large 
reservoir of trained manpower which will be blindly 
obedient to their commands. 

For the same reasons that we could not mastermind 
China, the Russians will not be able to stroll in and 
nonchalantly take over. The present top leadership of 
the Chinese Communists consists of men who, how- 
ever closely they may study the Moscow line and 
however publicly they may proclaim their loyalty to 
Moscow, have built their own army and their own 
political machine. Generals who have built their own 
armies and won clinching victories with them, and 
politicians who have built their own machines and 
taken over the government, are not going to turn to 
foreigners, even if the foreigners are their best friends, 
and say to them humbly, "You are so much smarter 
than we are; please take over! " 

China, Russia, and America 167 

Apart from the question whether they can master- 
mind the Communists enough to give political orders, 
the Russians are physically incapable of exporting into 
Chiria the factory output that America poured in dur- 
ing the last three years and more. There does not exist 
in Russia a two billion dollar surplus of anything that 
can be put into China, in the form of munitions, food, 
agricultural equipment, consumer goods, or anything 
else whatever. Nor do the Russians start out with the 
advantage of being the "favorite foreigners" of the 
Chinese, as the Americans have long been. In the 
Chinese folk tradition, the Russians have always been 
the most barbarian of the "foreign barbarians," the 
"dangerous neighbors" with a common frontier. 

The fact is that the Russians, like the Americans, are 
going to find that what counts in China is the kind of 
government evolved by the play of Chinese political, 
economic, social, and military forces. We can no 
longer regulate the adjustment of those forces. We 
could not do so even by agreement between ourselves 
and Russia. To put it in another way, there is now 
virtually no limit to the ability of the Chinese to ma- 
neuver and take advantage of rivalry and hostility be- 
tween us and Russia. But there are very definite limits 
on the ability of the Russians to exploit distrust or bad 
feeling between us and the government of China. 
There are even narrower limits on our- ability., to fish 
in troubled waters between China and Russia. Our 
power in China has suffered a sharp decline; but not 
everything that we have lost has been gained by Russia. 
The difference accrues to China, and the China of the 

168 The Situation in Asia 

next few decades will be no puppet or pushover for 
the Russians. 

Manchuria will be the most critical test of relations 
between Russia and China, because in Manchuria Rus- 
sia has the power to make Russian interests override 
Chinese interests. Manchuria has the biggest and most 
diversified industries in all China, and these industries 
are based on their own local raw materials unlike 
the industries of Shanghai, which depend on raw mate- 
rials brought in either by sea or down the Yangtze 
from the distant hinterland. Linking its industries to- 
gether, Manchuria has a greater mileage of railways 
per hundred square miles of territory than any other 
group of provinces in China. In addition to everything 
else, Manchuria is the only industrial area in China 
that not only feeds itself but has a surplus of food for 

Because of its geographical position between Japan, 
Korea, and Siberia, Manchuria is the only corner of 
China through which Russia could be invaded by 
American land forces with naval and air support. Such 
an invasion might be a major mistake in American 
strategy, but is a contingency which Russia will fear as 
long as America remains in Japan. Geographical posi- 
tion also makes it possible, theoretically, to detach 
Manchuria from the rest of China and attach it as a 
Chinese Soviet Republic to the Soviet Union. There 
are Chinese who fear that Manchuria will be lost in 
this way, and they will not cease to fear such a possi- 
bility unless Russian policy makes it clear that the Rus- 
sian intention is to let Manchuria, long separated from 

China, Russia, and America 169 

the rest of China by the Japanese conquest of 1931, 
reintegrate itself with the home country. 

Russian treaty rights in Manchuria are so conspicu- 
ous that they will serve as an infallible gauge of Rus- 
sian intentions. Under agreements with China signed 
in 1945, just as the war was ending, the Russians se- 
cured railway, naval base, and commercial rights 
which restore most of the old treaty rights of Tsarist 
Russia those held before 1904 and lost to Japan after 
the Russo-Japanese War as well as those held after 
1905. These agreements are to run for thirty years, or 
until 1975. 

Under the railway agreement the Soviet Union re- 
covered a joint interest with China in all railways 
originally constructed under the old agreements with 
Tsarist Russia, but Russian troops can use them only 
"in a period of war against Japan"; and at the end of 
the atgreement all of these rail fines are to revert to full 
Chinese possession without any payment to Russia. 
Under the Port Arthur agreement, Russia secured 
" joint utilization" of Port Arthur as a naval base, with 
the right of providing the defense for the base, and the 
obligation of paying for installations. In this case also 
the base, including any installations made by the Rus- 
sians, will revert to China free of cost in 1975. Under 
a third agreement, Dairen was to be made a free port, 
under Chinese administration but with joint Chinese- 
Russian management, and with the Russians having the 
right to lease piers and warehouses. In the event of war 
with Japan, Russia has the right to include Dairen 
within the naval base area of Port Arthur. This agree- 

170 The Situation in Asia 

ment also expires in 1975. Russia enjoys one other spe- 
cial privilege in China: the right to priority in operat- 
ing a joint Chinese-Russian air route over Sinkiang, 
the province adjoining the Soviet Republics of Central 

The Russians could probably engineer a separatist 
movement in Manchuria if they wanted to; or they 
could override Chinese interests by using their treaty 
rights in such a way as to make Manchuria a Russian 
protectorate in fact. If they should do so, it would 
probably be in order to make themselves absolutely 
sure against American penetration into Manchuria. 
The price of security, in either case, would be the 
abandonment of a "policy of attraction" on the door- 
step of Siberia toward China and acceptance of the 
disadvantages of a "policy of repulsion," including the 
encouragement of a Chinese Titoism. 

On the other hand the Russians could within a year 
or two, if the Communist-controlled coalition govern- 
ment of China looks solid enough to them, renounce 
the treaties. They could thus allow it to be inferred 
that they had demanded the treaties in 1945 partly be- 
cause of their distrust of the Kuornintang government, 
to prevent it from granting America bases in Man- 
churia. Such a policy, properly timed, could have a 
tremendous effect throughout Asia, but is not likely 
until the end of the American occupation of Japan. 

There is a third alternative. The Russians could let 
these agreements run their full course, but could dur- 
ing the period of the agreements use their rights so 
clearly to the advantage of all China, as well as the 

China, Russia, and America 171 

Chinese of Manchuria, that the Chinese would be con- 
vinced of the genuineness of Russian friendship. The 
success of such a policy would depend largely on the 
ability of the Russians to supply technicians and mate- 
rials to maintain steady improvement, and on their 
willingness to avoid every appearance of taking more 
wealth out of Manchuria than they put in. For Com- 
munists as well as for capitalists the rule holds that a 
weak country never admits that the treatment it re- 
ceives from a strong country is "equal" unless it is in 
fact more than equal. 

The fate of Manchuria is vital to China. If its sur- 
plus production is drained toward Siberia instead of 
being turned toward China, the Chinese Communists 
will have to try, as did Tito in Yugoslavia, to work out 
some form of compromise that will allow them to re- 
tain their Communism but at the same time rely pri- 
marily on America for trade and industrialization. 
Manchuria is the only part of China with an industry 
strong enough to take part in the industrialization of 
the rest of China. Even if it is allowed to turn its full 
industrial energy southward, Manchuria cannot build 
all the factories that China needs; but it could 
strengthen China enough to make bargaining with 
America much easier. In this kind of association with 
the rest of China Manchuria would tend to become the 
principal focus of an industrial or proletarian Com- 
munism pressing forward steadily to supersede the 
peasant-based Communism that won the civil wai;., t 

Li Li-san is the personal symbol of a potentially ex- 
panding industrially based Communism. In the early 

172 The Situation in Asia 

days of the Chinese Communists he ranked higher than 
Mao Tze-tung. He advocated attempts to take and 
hold cities, at whatever the cost, in order to keep in- 
dustrial workers in the forefront of the movement. It 
was through criticism of the losses and defeats suf- 
fered in these attempts that Mao Tze-tung and his 
peasant-based Communism eventually assumed the 
lead. Li Li-san then went to Russia, from which he 
returned many years later with the Russian armies that 
entered Manchuria. He has publicly avowed that in 
the days when he disagreed with Mao Tze-tung he 
was wrong and Mao was right, but it is significant that 
he has operated since 1945 in the area of China that 
has the largest industrial population and is nearest to 

West of Manchuria the deployment of Russian in- 
fluence through Mongolia and Sinkiang will have a 
critical effect on attitudes toward Russia not only in 
China but throughout Asia. Along the Amur and the 
Ussuri, the Russians are in direct contact with a Chi- 
nese population in Manchuria. Along the Mongolian 
and Sinkiang frontiers, they are in contact not with 
Chinese but with Mongols and with various Central 
Asian peoples, of whom the most numerous are the 
Uighurs of Sinkiang. 

These are weak peoples, thinly inhabiting huge ter- 
ritories that are strategically important and have natu- 
ral resources including oil in Sinkiang which they 
themselves are not yet able to exploit. They have re- 
sisted to the best of their ability Chinese colonization 
of their land and Chinese efforts to absorb them by 

China, Russia, and America 173 

making them learn Chinese and abandon ways of life 
that set them apart from the Chinese. Though weak, 
they are as nationalistic as all other peoples in Asia. 
Their nationalism is still seeking effective methods of 
political organization, and takes competitive Com- 
munist, anti-Communist, and non-Communist forms. 

In the recent past, caught between the obliterating 
Chinese program of colonization and cultural absorp- 
tion on one side and Russian Communism on the otter, 
they have tended more and more strongly to look 
toward Russia, because the Russians, though as insist- 
ent on paramount power as the Chinese, have in Siberia 
and Central Asia encouraged minority peoples to keep 
their languages and revive their cultures, and have al- 
lowed them local self-government. Now they are 
caught between Chinese Communists on one side and 
Russian Communists on the other. They themselves 
feel the double threat of the overriding interests of 
more powerful peoples, and others, throughout Asia, 
will react toward both China and Russia according to 
whether they feel that the Mongols, in Inner as well 
as Outer Mongolia, and the Uighurs, Kazakhs, and 
others in Sinkiang, are getting a fair deal or are being 
submerged and subordinated. Afghanistan and Tibet, 
in the heart of Asia, will be especially sensitive to what 
happens in Mongolia and Sinkiang. 

The relations between America and the China which 
is now emerging are quite different from those between 
China and Russia. It is impossible for Russia, standing 
in contact on a land frontier, not to have a political 
effect on China either as a danger or as an admired 

174 The Situation in Asm 

example however small the economic interchange 
may be. Relations between China and America are to 
some extent optional. It is an advantage to America to 
be able to trade with China, but both countries can 
survive without that trade. It would be a very great 
advantage for China to be able to draw on America for 
its industrialization program; but the ending of the 
civil war will bring so much easing of economic dis- 
tress that China can coast along for a good many years 
without feeling compelled to make political conces- 
sions to America for the sake of getting industrial 

With neither country so dependent on the other 
that it can be forced to make concessions, future rela- 
tions will have to be determined by agreements that 
are as acceptable to one side as they are to the other. 
The two chief obstacles to coming to a new under- 
standing are the Chiang Kai-shek legend, which Amer- 
ica helped to destroy, and the fact that America stood 
by while the Kuomintang ruined the private-enterprise 
capitalists of China. 

When it became plain that Chiang Kai-shek's power 
was collapsing and that no amount of money or arms 
could succeed in making him the personal ruler of 
China, many Americans began to turn against him, 
saying that he had never been anything but a war lord 
with medieval ideas of politics. This attitude does no 
credit to us as Americans. Chiang Kai-shek was for 
years a true national hero in China, and a great and 
farsighted world statesman. He wrote the last chapter 
of what may be called the "old diplomacy" of China; 

China, Russia, and America 175 

the fact that it ended badly is as much America's fault 
as his. 

Chiang Kai-shek was never a dictator; He came to 
power through manipulating a coalition of forces, and 
he remained in power as long as he was able to com- 
bine more than one kind of support. Throughout this 
period he practiced a diplomacy that had been tradi- 
tional in China for % hundred years since the Opium 
War: the diplomacy by which a weak power tries to 
play powerful rivals off against each other. He foresaw 
the war with Japan and its consequences. Though a 
stubborn man, he made possible the minimum degree 
of compromise and co-operation between Kuomintang 
and Communists without which Japan would have 
overrun the whole of China. In repeated crises in 
which the most rabidly anti-Communist of his generals 
virtually abandoned the resistance against Japan in 
their efforts to reduce the Communist area of opera- 
tion, he personally maintained the front against Japan. 

Chiang Kai-shek was vulnerable where any states- 
man practicing the old diplomacy of China was bound 
to be vulnerable: in maneuvering at the same time to 
remain paramount in China and to keep the great pow- 
ers engaged in rivalry with each other, there was al- 
ways the danger that he might come to owe his posi- 
tion in China too much to some one great power. Ever 
since Yuan Shih-k'ai Chinese nationalism has refused 
to follow any man v/x LV\;^ !.\: position more to for- 
eign support than to Chinese support. 

American policy fell into this trap, and in falling 
dragged Chiang Kai-shek down. At the end of the war 

176 The Situation in Asia 

he still had the respect and trust of most Chinese; but 
many of his lieutenants were not respected and not 
trusted. There was an uneasy feeling that they had 
encircled Chiang and were preventing him from learn- 
ing the truth about how the people felt and what they 
wanted especially their dread of civil war and their 
demand for representative government. Chiang's closest 
lieutenants, in the meantime, were convinced that war 
between America and Russia was not far away, that it 
could be hastened by a civil war indirectly pitting 
America against Russia, and that America would not 
be able to withdraw from intervention. They believed 
that war between America and Russia would solve all 
their problems: America would defeat Russia, and as a 
by-product of the American victory the Kuomintang 
would win the civil war without making the slightest 

When the Marshall mission failed and was followed 
very shortly by the Truman Doctrine of uncompro- 
mising hostility to Communism and Russia on all 
fronts, and then by increasing demands in Congress 
and a large part of the American press for a all-out aid 
to Chiang," the most distrusted and least respected of 
Chiang's lieutenants were strengthened in their encir- 
clement of him. They claimed that their forecast was 
being completely proved, step by step. The trend of 
American policy thus destroyed what was left of 
Chiang's freedom of maneuver and made it impossible 
for him to base his leadership on the progressive wing 
of his own party and on the groups that stood between 
the Kuomintang and the Communists. 

China, Russia, and America 177 

With Chiang Kai-shek defeated, there is no lesser 
man who can be used as an instrument of American 
policy. Even to seek out individual moderates in a 
coalition government and attempt to support them, as 
individuals, would defeat the aims of American policy. 
Such men would promptly become unable to represent 
a genuinely moderate point of view among their own 
countrymen. They would be tagged as agents of 
America. Everything they advocated would be sus- 
piciously rejected as a disguised American move, detri- 
mental to the interests of China. 

Any attempt to use individuals as the spokesmen of 
American policy would also contribute to the horrible 
process by which a political secret police is built up. 
Hitherto American observers in China, who have been 
acutely conscious of secret police activities in Kuo- 
mintang China, have had nothing comparable to report 
from Communist China. The danger of malignant 
secret police development begins when, after victory, 
a revolutionary government feels that it has to keep 
watch on all kinds of people who have foreign sym- 
pathies or may be receiving foreign support. And once 
a man in politics is attacked as representing foreign 
views or interests, the police are practically challenged 
to dig up something on him, true, half -true, or f alss. -, 

We must take our stand in China on policies, not 
persons. The Chinese Communists have promised 
many compromises. The important thing is that these 
promises were made not to us, but to the war-weary 
Chinese people. The heat is on the Chinese Commu- 
nists, It is up to them to make the compromises specific, 

178 The Situation in Asia 

and to begin to carry them out. If they are so unsatis- 
factory that 450,000,000 Chinese drag their feet unen- 
thusiastically, the Communists will be in serious 
trouble. To get the country going again, they desper- 
ately need 450,000,000 people who are picking up their 
feet briskly, not dragging them. 

To meet this situation the Chinese Communists have 
already outlined policies of stabilization, not of 
stepped-up revolution. To the Chinese people, they 
are offering rewards for all, including owners of pri- 
vate enterprise, who will restore production, increase 
the supply of the things the nation needs, and bring 
down prices. To all countries with the United States 
specifically mentioned they are offering the* oppor- 
tunity to trade on terms of business profits for business 

The lead for the step-by-step development of a 
workable American policy is clear. We are in a posi- 
tion to accept or refrain from accepting opportunities 
. offered for American enterprise by a new Chinese gov- 
ernment on straight considerations of sound business. 
We must not spoil our favorable position by attempt- 
ing at this time to declare the conditions on which we 
should deal with China, especially "must not" condi- 
tions threatening the Chinese that if they do certain 
things we will throw a cordon around them. We must 
at all costs avoid the appearance of wanting to punish 
the Chinese people for having a government which we 
did not inspect and approve for them in advance. Any 
imputation that we wish to reserve some sort of veto 
power over the internal policies of the new Chinese 

China, Russia, and America 179 

government would solidify nationalist resentment 
against us. 

We must also abandon the stubbornly lingering de- 
lusion that we can somehow maintain footholds by 
supporting rump territories or rump governments 
somewhere south of the Yangtze, or on the coast, or 
on the island of Formosa. Rumps do not make good 
footholds. Any diehard Chinese political or military 
group that tries to stay in business by combining anti- 
Communism with the dividing up of China's territory 
and sovereignty is doomed. Any such attempt will be 
swept away by the deep ground swell of Chinese na- 
tionalism. "Our own land, under one sovereignty; our 
own people, under one government," is the unifying 
denominator of Chinese politics today. 

Ever since the end of the war there has been a 
gathering anger in China against that trend in Ameri- 
can policy which is interpreted to mean that America 
justifies any amount of suffering in China if it con- 
tributes to the grand design of American hostility to 
Russia. We have already done enough to goad that 
rising anger. It is easier for the Chinese to accept a 
Communist-controlled government than it is to submit 
to the mutilation of their territory by the chopping off 
of fragments under pseudo-nationalist "legitimist" re- 
gimes that would not last a week without American 

We shall soon have a government in China firmly 
established in the heart of the land and controlling 
practically the whole of its fringes. This government 
will be recognized de jure and de facto by Russia, 

180 The Situation in Asia 

probably to be followed very soon by the Union of 
India and by Pakistan. It will command increasing 
respect in Japan. Britain is already preparing to deal 
with it; if Britain should hold back, both Asia and 
Europe will believe that it is because American policy 
has superseded and subordinated British interest and 
British policy. The damage to Britain's power prestige 
and to America's moral prestige would be the greatest 
since the end of the war. It would make the uncontrol- 
lability of Asia stand out, and at the same time show us 
to. be devoid of any policy except a policy of control. 

The new government of China will claim China's 
Big Five position in the United Nations, including the 
right of veto. By the use of our own veto, we could 
delay China in moving into this position but only by 
some such reductio ad absurdumzs pretending that the 
island of Formosa is "China." 

Nationalism is the only bedrock on which a political 
structure can be built in China or anywhere in Asia 
today. If we are as quick as the Russians and the 
Communists of Asia are to build on that bedrock, then 
the new political structures that are being built in 
China and all over Asia will incorporate many features 
of capitalism, private enterprise, and political democ- 
racy in their "third country" architectural design. If 
the Russians and the Communists continue to keep 
ahead of us in accepting Asia on its own terms, there 
will be more socialism in the superstructure. 



THE string of countries and islands looped around the 
coasts of Asia, in which the United States and the im- 
perial countries of Europe have footholds of one kind 
or another, all belong to the same general pattern a 
patchwork of foreign investment in strategically sensi- 
tive raw materials like oil and rubber, combined with 
remnants of alien sovereignty or control over peoples 
among whom the tide of nationalism is running more 
and more strongly. At the same time these countries 
and their peoples differ from each other in so many 
ways that it would be foolrJi rr > Attempt to apply the 
same policy to all of t'i " . 

Can these beachheads around Asia, be used to enable 
American and European interests to advance once 
more into the mainland of Asia, or must they be re- 
garded as embarkation beachheads from which Ameri- 
can and European interests must try to carry out an 
orderly evacuation and retreat? European countries, 
wherever they feel that a retreat from empire has be- 
come inevitable, want 'to carry it out as slowly as pos- 
sible and to salvage as much as they can of their old 
vested interests. America, with both capital and mili- 

182 The Situation in Asia 

tary strength to spare, is more interested in opening up 
opportunities for establishing new interests. The gen- 
eral character of European policy is to permit change 
only where it cannot be stopped by force. The general 
character of American policy is to permit and even 
encourage the advance toward political sovereignty of 
formerly subject countries, as rapidly as this can be 
done without disorders detrimental to investment and 
trade, and without the danger of sudden changes from 
political evolution to social revolution. 

India and the Union of India more than Pakistan 
is the key area within the ruins of empire in Asia. 
Within it there is the maximum opportunity for co- 
ordinating change and stabilization. 

The old Indian Empire, including both the present 
Union of India and Pakistan, was the keystone of the 
arch of empire. It was so great in geographical mass, in 
the bulk of its population, in its importance to British 
strategy and military manpower, and in its economic 
significance, that when the two Dominions of the 
Union of India and Pakistan were formed by negotia- 
tion instead of armed revolution the whole structure of 
world empire over subject peoples was bound to begin 
to slump down on its foundations. 

The 400,000,000 people of the Indian Empire were 
all nationalistic in their demands for freedom from 
British rule; but they were divided among themselves 
by tumultuous differences of political interest and 
political theory, sharpened by social and economic 
conflicts and by differences of language, culture, and 
religion. There was a fantastic range of economic 

Beachheads of Empire 183 

variation. At one end the Tata steel mills were bigger 
than anything in Britain itself. At the other end were 
farmers more miserable than the poorest peasants in 
China, and hereditary professional beggars with a 
vested interest in their own running sores. In between 
was every imaginable degree of poverty and wealth, 
and every imaginable way of making a Kving or drag- 
ging out an existence. 

The apologists of empire advertised the internal 
conflicts in India and drew on endless variations of the 
theory of trusteeship. For purposes of political justifi- 
cation, anything good in India could be attributed to 
the wisdom and benevolence of British rule. Anything 
bad could be cited as a warning of the horrors that 
would engulf India if British rule were withdrawn. It 
could be argued and was argued for decades, while 
modern Indian nationalism was maturing and pressing 
its demands more and more strongly that only a con- 
tinuation of British rule in the spirit of trusteeship 
would slowly bring India as a whole up to the level 
vaguely described as "political responsibility." India 
was even the oldest justification for policies of defense 
against the Russian menace. More than half a century 
before the Bolshevik Revolution, apologists of British 
rule in India began to call the world to witness that if 
British rule were withdrawn from India it would only 
be succeeded by Russian rule. 

The theory of empire as well as the structure of em- 
pire slumped on its foundations when, in the end, the 
British negotiated dominion status because they no 
longer had the power to maintain their rule by force. 

184 The Situation in Asia 

It was clear that they were not suddenly convinced 
that the Indians had attained the vague standard of 
"political responsibility." The final jolt was open re- 
volt in the Indian Army, as Prime Minister Attlee ad- 
mitted in Parliament. Nothing could have been less 
like the staid old concept of "political responsibility." 
In the whole process the initiative came from the In- 
dian side. Dominion status was not the ideal at which 
the British aimed but the best compromise they were 
able to salvage out of a situation that they were no 
longer able to control. Under these conditions the 
British carried out brilliantly a most difficult maneuver 
in statesmanship: the avoidance of loss of prestige 
when making a far-reaching concession of power. 

Dominion status emerged in a whirlpool at the point 
where the vigorous current of nationalism meets the 
weakening current of imperial power. The fact that 
Pakistan separated from India on the issue of religious 
politics reveals one of the effects of British rule that 
nationalism has not yet been able to submerge. En- 
couragement of political organization within the 
framework of religion had, after the First World War, 
become the principal British device for splitting the 
onslaught of a united nationalism. British official and 
semiofficial literature persisted in referring to a sup- 
posed Hindu Congress long after the All-India Con- 
gress had made it a major policy to stress the union 
in nationalism of people of different religious faiths. 
Mohammed Ali Jinnah developed the momentum of 
his political career by turning this British policy to 
his own advantage, and he had enough momentum left, 

Beachheads of Empire 185 

when the British withdrew, to carry out the separation 
of Pakistan as a personal triumph. 

The new current of nationalism will eventually 
smooth out this whirlpool. The most statesmanlike 
achievement of the Union of India is its increasingly 
successful insistence on modern secular politics instead 
of the archaic politics of religion. In the case of the 
State of Hyderabad it succeeded in maintaining, in the 
face of both Britain and Pakistan, that the issue was 
between a despotic Nizam, as such, and his unwilling 
subjects, as such, and not between a Moslem ruler and 
his Hindu subjects. In the case of Kashmir the core 
of the Union of India policy, in its conflict with Paki- 
stan policy, has been its insistence on the right of a 
Moslem leader of Kashmir to bring his Moslem fol- 
lowers into the multi-religious Union of India instead 
of into Moslem Pakistan. Eventually, this trend toward 
secular politics will lead to the reintegration of Paki- 
stan and the Union of India as one f ederalized, multi- 
religious state. 

In the meantime, the Dominions of India and Paki- 
stan are changing the character of the British Com- 
monwealth as well as the British Empire. In the dual 
British system the Empire is composed of subject 
possessions, while the Commonwealth is a free alliance. 
In this free alliance the European populations of 
Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the 
Union of South Africa are now outnumbered by the 
peoples of India and Pakistan, whose Asian bias will 
have an increasing effect on British policies as a whole. 

The British interest is to maintain what is left of the 

186 The Situation in Asia 

system of empire for as long as possible, both in 
Britain's own possessions, such as Malaya, and in the 
possessions of Britain's allies, such as Indo-China and 
Indonesia and the British, Belgian, and French pos- 
sessions in Africa. The interest of India and Pakistan 
is to eliminate what is left of the imperial system as fast 
as possible; and this interest leads the policies of India 
and Pakistan not only into Indonesia but into the Arab 
states and Africa. The effect of this new bias within 
the Commonwealth can already be seen in the case of 
Australia, which lies on the far side of Asia, looks 
toward Asia for markets for its industries, and has been 
more openly and consistently friendly to nationalists 
in Asia than either Britain or America. 

The Union of India, more than Pakistan, whose 
freedom of maneuver is cramped by the restrictions 
of religious politics, is eager to build a new structure 
of hegemony out of the ruins of empire in Asia. As 
long as no nation in Asia can stand forward in world 
politics as a great power, all nations in Asia must 
either associate their interests or become in some degree 
the satellites of either Russia or America. If there is to 
be an Asian group aiming at the maximum freedom 
from control by both Russia and the European- Ameri- 
can bloc, China cannot be the pivot of it because Com- 
munism is clearly in the ascendant in the Chinese coali- 
tion. Such an association can only work and represent 
common interests if the emphasis is non-Communist 
rather than pro-Communist or anti-Communist. The 
lead therefore can be taken by India. It is for this 
reason that Nehru so steadily insists that the Union 

Beachheads of Empire 187 

of India is neutral in the contending expansion of Rus- 
sian and American power, and would continue to be 
neutral if war broke out. Pursuing this line of policy 
Nehru proposed, in the Asian Conference on Indonesia 
at New Delhi in January 1949, that the Asian nations 
should not act as an anti-European bloc which 
would further weaken the United Nations but 
should work to strengthen the authority of the United 
Nations Security Council. 

For India and the nations that Nehru would like to 
group around India have more than one interest in 
common. Even nationalist movements that are afraid 
of Communism do not want to be made into the can- 
non fodder of an American victory over Russia. Even 
movements that are tinged with Communism want to 
win their own victories over what remains of imperial- 
ism more than they want to be sacrificed to a Russian 
victory over America. Conversely, both movements 
that are afraid of Communism and movements that are 
tinged with Communism have learned how to play off 
the American fear of Russia against the Russian fear 
of America to their own advantage. 

Both in geographical position and in political struc- 
ture the Union of India has advantages which may 
majke it an area of stabilization in Asia; and if stabiliza- 
tion can be achieved in Asia, it may contribute to 
stabilization of the relations between Asia, Europe, 
America, and Russia. 

The Union of India and Pakistan both resemble 
China in the short period when the Kuomintang was 
at the peak of its power, from 1928 when the Chinese 

188 The Situation in Asia 

Communists were driven into the wilderness to 1931 
when China began to lose territory to Japanese aggres- 
sion. Both countries, however, intend to improve on 
the history of Kuomintang China, not to recapitulate 
it. They are not fooling themselves about Communism, 
but they realize that Chiang Kai-shek's fanatic in- 
sistence on continuing the civil war against the Chinese 
Communists even when Manchuria was invaded in 
1931 almost made possible the complete conquest of 
China by Japan. Both countries, therefore, are trying 
to find ways to limit the activities of Communists with- 
out being led into armed crusades against Communism. 

Pakistan resembles the landlord-dominated hinter- 
land of rural China in the days of Kuomintang power. 
The Moslem combination of authoritarianism within 
the political movement, the profession of brotherhood 
among all who are of the faith, and harsh insistence 
on conformity reads like a religious version of right- 
wing Kuomintang principles of organization. 

The Union of India resembles the full Kuomin- 
tang coalition of 1928 between landlords and modern 
capitalists. The key position is held by the modern 
capitalists, whose political representative is Sirdar Val- 
labhbhai Patel, not Nehru. Their drive toward nation- 
alist independence was motivated by the fact that 
under British rule British capitalism in India was bound 
to be stronger than Indian capitalism. Under Indian 
rule, they do not object to the activity of either British 
or American capital, because they need more capital 
to promote their own interests, and can control the 
conditions under which capital operates. 

Beachheads of Empire 189 

The fact that nationalism has already won for them 
so much of what they want makes them insist that 
revolution in India has now gone far enough. From 
now on, the demands of urban workers, peasants, and 
the large and poorly paid lower middle class should be 
met by gradual reforms. Yet while they have safe- 
guarded their position in India, the Indian capitalists 
are still weak capitalists in a world of strong capi- 
talists. They feel that their future will be threatened 
if powerful combinations of European and American 
capital establish themselves too strongly elsewhere in 
Asia in control of subject populations. For this reason 
they are willing to keep Indian anti-imperialism alive, 
and to direct it against the salvaging of the old order 
of empire anywhere in what remains of colonial Asia. 
On the other hand, as capitalists themselves, they do 
not want to see colonial revolution become completely 

These characteristics, when all put together in one 
bundle, make the capitalists who control the balance 
of power in India believe that foreign capital should 
not have political control in any country in Asia. They 
also believe, however, that the capitalists within each 
independent country in Asia should have as much 
power as possible, and should be free to negotiate for 
the use of as much outside capital as they need. 

Although there are extremes of difference between 
many of the countries east and west of India, many of 
these differences can be accounted for by the fact that 
they are in different stages of the development of 
nationalism. Because nationalism is at work in all of 

190 The Situation in Asia 

them, there are in fact possibilities of stabilization 
based on the attainment of a less complete political in- 
dependence or freedom from indirect control than 
each country wants, but a more complete relinquish- 
ment of rule or control than Europe or America wants. 
A survey, country by country, will show what facts 
the policy makers must accept as hard facts, and what 
facts are amenable to compromise. 

The Philippines was the only country taken by the 
Japanese during the war in which the former rulers 
did not lose both power and prestige. The principal 
reason for Filipino loyalty to the United States was the 
fact that the Filipinos were the only dependent or sub- 
ject people who had been promised complete political 
independence at a definite date. In all the colonial pos- 
sessions of Europe, references to the future had al- 
ways avoided the word "independence." Words ^vith 
more than one meaning, like "self-government," were 
used instead and European governments never pinned 
themselves down to dates, but talked only of vague 
qualifications like "maturity" which might within un- 
specified periods of time qualify their subjects to ask 
for something less than independence. 

It is true that what really determined the United 
States to promise Philippine independence was not the 
conviction that the Filipinos should be allowed to 
govern themselves. It was the fact that special interests 
in the United States which wanted the Philippines out- 
side the tariff barrier were more powerful than special 
interests that wanted them within. But the fact that 

Beachheads of Empire 191 

the United States earned great political dividends in 
the Philippines and throughout Asia by an accident of 
selfishness instead of by clear-sighted statesmanship 
should not detract from the value of the example when 
the problems of other dependent and subject peoples 
are considered. 

Japanese occupation did result in a new kind of 
politics in the Philippines, however. Among the bravest 
guerrilla fighters against the Japanese were poor tenant 
farmers. Among the most pliant collaborators of the 
Japanese were many of the rich landlords of these 
farmers. Inevitably, organized political antagonism to 
landlords who lived in big cities under Japanese pro- 
tection was a by-product of guerrilla resistance which 
carried over into postwar politics. Inevitably, too, this 
peasant radicalism was infiltrated by Communist or- 

Postwar politics in the Philippines, because of this 
development and because of political independence, 
beginning in 1946, is three-cornered. At one corner 
are men who were big shots under American rule, con- 
tinued to be big shots under Japanese rule, and when 
General MacArthur proclaimed "I have returned" 
echoed him with a fervent "Me too." They have de- 
veloped political reflexes that respond more sensitively 
to the interests of a strong outside protector than to 
the votes of popular majorities. At another corner 
stand radical peasants who have had experience in 
armed rebellion and political organization and are now 
backed by a growing labor interest. At the third corner 
stand business and professional men who feel that they 

192 The Situation in Asia 

can only organize free enterprise if they can take polit- 
ical control away from the old big shots whose prin- 
cipal skill is in rotating from one outside protector to 
another, and who represent a capitalism of captive 
enterprise rather than of free enterprise. 

In this three-cornered politics it was a smart move 
at the time but a move damaging to American interests 
in the long run when General MacArthur encouraged 
the election, as the first president of the free Philip- 
pines, of Manuel Roxas, who had collaborated with 
the Japanese during the war (while also sending intel- 
ligence out to MacArthur) , and was conspicuously a 
man of the captive enterprise big-shot class. It was a 
poor move because an alliance between the other two 
corners will eventually dominate the triangle of Philip- 
pine politics. Captive enterprise vested interests ob- 
struct the growth of a free enterprise capitalism, and 
for this reason the Filipinos who want a free enterprise 
capitalism will ally themselves, however cautiously, 
with the tenant farmers who, though Communist-led, 
want to own their farms as private property* 

The Philippine Trade Act (Bell-Tydings Act) of 
1946 shows the fundamental opposition between free 
enterprise and captive enterprise in any country in 
Asia that is struggling to get on its feet. The passage 
of this act did shocking damage to the long-term 
interests of America in Asia, and to the whole Ameri- 
can policy of encouraging and increasing world-wide 
trade. As described with cool objectivity by William 
L. Clayton, then Assistant Secretary of State, in his 
testimony before Congress, it gives American citizens 

Beachheads of Empire 193 

"special rights we cannot give Philippine citizens," 
It ties the hands of the Philippine government in the 
control of Philippine products, and "not only does 
this deprive the Philippine government of a sovereign 
prerogative," but "new Philippine producers would 
not during the life of the Act be able to compete 
freely in their own country." The captive enterprise 
interests represented by Roxas, which forced through 
Philippine acceptance of this disabling Act, naturally 
branded themselves in Filipino eyes as unpatriotic, 
while everywhere else in Asia the Act was taken as a 
warning that there may be deadly pitfalls in the path 
of a country whose government seeks the approval 
of the American government. 

From the American point of view the Philippines, 
with its new postwar politics, is partly but by no means 
entirely out -of control. It is under control to the ex- 
tent that America can hold air, naval, and army bases 
in the Philippines indefinitely, if need be. It is out of 
control to the extent that it is closely linked in political 
sympathy with the European colonial possessions that 
are slipping out of control, and is not a good base from 
which to bring them back under control. American 
pressure and the use of American money in Philippine 
politics will grow rapidly less effective as the years' 
pass; but a national hostility to America will develop 
only if there is American insistence on subordinating 
the Philippines to the recovery of a strong Japan. 
There can hardly be, in fact, a sound American policy 
for the Philippines alone; American policy toward the 
Philippines will be sound or unsound according to the 

194 The Situation in Asia 

part that it plays in the much larger complex policy 
of America in Asia as a whole. 

Indo-China is the most weakly held of all colonial 
possessions. It was never linked with the really vital 
economic processes of France, as India was linked with 
Britain. It was, rather, a distant possession where men 
with the right political connections could get rich in a 
few years; it was probably the most corruptly ad- 
ministered large colonial possession in the world. Dur- 
ing the war, the Frenchmen who controlled Indo- 
China under Japanese supervision were loyal to Vichy, 
not to France; and in France itself men whose wealth 
came from Indo-China through crooked channels 
stood close around Marshal Petain. 

Viet Namese, not Frenchmen, organized guerilla re- 
sistance in Indo-China, and it was through their under- 
ground that Frenchmen who wished to join the Free 
French forces escaped across the frontier into China. 
After the war, the French could not even have got 
back into Indo-China had the British not landed first 
and held the ports for them. By 1949, the Viet Nam 
nationalist movement had won control of three quar- 
ters of the country, and there was so little popular 
support in France for a war of reconquest that German 
and African troops had to be used in large numbers. 
With 100,000 troops in Indo-China, the French are 
estimated to be spending on an unsuccessful colonial 
war the equivalent of a third of what France itself is 
getting in Marshall Plan aid. 

Viet Nam nationalism is led by Ho Chi Minh, a vet- 

Beachheads of Empire 195 

eran Communist educated in France who later studied 
in Russia and worked closely with the Chinese Com- 
munists in the 1920's. There are so few Communists 
in Indo-China that he has not even attempted to send 
out a Communist spearhead in advance of the main 
nationalist column. He sticks close to nationalism and 
nationalist issues, and as a result his movement has 
solid support even among the upper classes living away 
from the French-held cities, and among Catholics. All 
French efforts to split up the nationalist movement by 
isolating the Communists have failed; there are not 
enough Communists to isolate. French efforts to set 
up local governments of pseudo-nationalists have also 
failed; the French cannot attempt to regain control 
and at the same time offer their puppets anything that 
looks like nationalism in comparison with the move- 
ment led by Ho Chi Minh. 

The hardest of hard facts in Indo-China is that the 
country will become independent. American and 
British correspondents of the Associated Press, the 
Christian Science Monitor, and the Manchester Gziard- 
mn were reporting before the end of 1948 that the 
French situation was hopeless. Reconquest of Indo- 
China cannot be made a national cause in France, and 
for America the diversion of military forces needed to 
reconquer the country for France would be a military 
absurdity and a political impossibility* 

Siam is a country with no serious revolutionary 
movement. It is one of the few countries in Asia with 
a surplus of food and room for the population to ex- 

196 The Situation in Asia 

pand. la the age of imperialism it remained the only 
independent country in Southeast Asia. Although 
foreign especially British economic interests are 
powerful, political independence satisfies the rather 
small group of families who dominate the government 
and army. In Latin American style, revolution has 
hitherto meant the ousting of one clique of families by 
another. Siam is a country in which a f arsighted Ameri- 
can and European policy could bring rapid progress 
and an all-round increase of wealth, rather than the 
transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor. There is 
one limitation: the Western countries would have to 
reconcile themselves as they have never yet done in 
any country in Asia, except the Philippines to the 
fact that education is necessary to progress and that 
education, alone, makes inevitable a political revolu- 
tion in which the growing number of educated people 
demand a share of the power previously monopolized 
by a few rich families. 

Malaya is Britain's last treasure-house colony in Asia. 
With a minimum expenditure on military forces, public 
services, and education it produced tin and rubber 
which are tremendous dollar-earners for Britain and 
in the past have enabled Britain to dominate the inter- 
national cartels setting the world prices of tin and rub- 

Malaya when the British came was divided into little 
tribal states of Malays, each ruled by its own sultan. 
The British confirmed the rather grandiloquent titles 
of these chiefs. They "federated" some of the states 

Beachheads of Empire 197 

and administered them directly; others were controlled 
indirectly as unfederated states. The Malays had an 
easy enough life to enable them to refuse to work 
as cheap plantation or mining labor* The British there- 
fore imported first Chinese and then Indians, and the 
population now consists of about 40 per cent Chinese, 
40 per cent Malays, and nearly 20 per cent Indians, 
with Europeans forming only a fractional percentage. 

Among the industrious Chinese especially a few 
poor coolies founded millionaire families owning 
mines, plantations, big businesses, and banks; but they 
remained colonial subjects, without a vote. (To this 
day British passports distinguish between a "subject" 
and a "citizen.") The Chinese, forming the bulk of the 
colonial middle class and controlling the most militant 
trade-unions, have taken the lead in colonial nation- 
alism. They are divided into a declining majority or- 
ganized by the Kuomintang, which wants a domi- 
nating position for the Chinese with separate political 
organizations for each colonial people, and a growing 
minority sympathetic to the Chinese Communists, with 
many Communist leaders and organizers, who want 
a multinational Malayan state in which Chinese, Ma- 
lays, and Indians will all be members of the same 
political organizations and trade-unions. 

The British, since the war, have countered by favor- 
ing a separate nationalism of the Malays, tinged with 
animosity against the "intruding Chinese." Singapore 
has been set aside from the rest of Malaya as a Crown 
Colony, thus maintaining the enfranchisement of the 
majority of the Chinese, whose center of gravity is in 

198 The Situation in Asia 

Singapore. To a large extent the British have succeeded 
in preventing alliances between Malays and Chinese 
and splitting alliances between Indians and Chinese. 
They have also worked hard on the cleavages between 
middle class and labor union Chinese leadership. 

Early in 1948 conferences of Indian Communists, 
New Democratic Youth Leagues, and Southeast Asian 
Students were held in Calcutta, at which Russians were 
present not secretly, but "on diplomatic passports" 
and after these conferences there were Communist 
and Communist-led uprisings in Burma in April, in 
Malaya in June, and in Indonesia in September. 1 It is 
easy to assume that the conferences were used to relay 
the voice of Moscow, and that the risings were Mos- 
cow-ordered. There is a supplementary explanation 
which points to an even more serious problem for Eu- 
ropean and American policy makers. Communist and 
near-Communist leaders in Asia today are much more 
than mere agitators. They are mature political oper- 
ators, who know that their rulers consult each other 
and co-ordinate the timing of their moves whenever 
possible, and that it is essential for them to do the same 
thing. Some have learned, and others are learning, to 
listen to the Moscow radio more as a central source of 
intelligence on the world situation in which their local 
situations are involved than as a source of orders for 
immediate action. 

As this tendency increases the Communist move- 
ments in Southeast Asia will become more formidable, 

a lan Morrison, "The Communist Uprising in Malay," Far 
Eastern Survey, New York, December 22, 1948. 

Beachheads of Empire 199 

The record shows that the Chinese Communists lost 
ground when they rigidly followed analyses made in 
distant Moscow and began to prosper when, under 
Mao Tze-tung, they developed a dual technique of 
co-ordinated timing with Moscow, as far as possible, 
while basing themselves primarily, within China, on 
their own knowledge of Chinese conditions. Similarly 
the success of Ho Chi Minh in Indo-China is clearly 
the result of his policy of not getting too far out ahead 
of the kind of support that an intelligent nationalist 
leader can mobilize in Indo-China. 

The Southeast Asian risings of 1948 probably failed 
both because the Moscow representatives who at- 
tended the preceding conferences were too optimistic 
in their estimate of the weakness of the European 
countries and because the Southeast Asian Communists 
were too optimistic about the local strength that they 
could muster. Certainly in Malaya the local leaders 
got far out ahead of the line on which their non-Com- 
munist supporters were ready to stand and fight. The 
result, in Malaya, was that the British were able to 
isolate the hard core of Communism in a few Chinese- 
led unions and to deal with it within the dimensions of 
using troops against labor violence, preventing it from 
spreading into a nationalist rising. 

The British counterattack, however, has failed. Vet- 
eran Communists with previous guerrilla experience 
against the Japanese have faded back into the jungles, 
and may be able to survive there against the British as 
they did against the Japanese. Whether they will be 
able, in the jungles, to recruit Malay followers as well 

200 The Situation in Asia 

as Chinese, to work back into contact with the labor 
unions, and to integrate the joint Malay-Chinese- 
Indian colonial nationalism that has always been their 
long-range aim will depend not simply on British mili- 
tary strength in Malaya but on the position of Malaya 
in the whole wide sweep of colonial unrest, and also 
on the stability in Europe itself of the Western Union 
group of European colonial powers. 

Burma is unique in Asia in its combination of three 
characteristics: its European rulers admitted promptly 
and without fighting that they could not reconquer the 
country, and negotiated the recognition of full inde- 
pendence; it had no powerful ruling class of its own 
with secondary experience of government under the 
British; and no important political movement has 
emerged that is anti-Marxist or even non-Marxist in its 
views and aims. Burma was not oppressively ruled by 
the British. Why should its politicians, turning their 
backs on the Anglo-Saxon tradition, take Marx as their 
guide to the future? 

The answer should be studied carefully in Europe 
and America. Peoples who even when ruled benevo- 
lently have been starved of political experience want 
to adopt at once what they consider the most modern 
political forms. In Asia today, that gives Marxism a 
head start. People in Asia who have the tradition of 
being a ruling class, or great wealth, or other strong 
vested interests are afraid of the subversive aspects of 
Marxism. Others, including educated people and mem- 
bers of the middle classes who make their living by 

Beachheads of Empire 201 

their brains rather than by the ownership of property, 
are not alarmed by the fact that Marxism is subversive 
of the old European order. They have no loyalty to 
the old European, order. They have no emotional at- 
tachment to European democracy, which, from their 
point of view, is selfishly democratic within Europe 
and has never exported itself to Asia. They want to 
strengthen themselves against and in competition with 
the European tradition. 

If Marxism is weakening and in some countries sup- 
planting the old European order, that makes it, from 
their point of view, modern and progressive. In addi- 
tion, they live in countries in which the whole popu- 
lation can only move forward if mass support is 
mobilized for material progress. They will never get 
education, engineering, and improved farming if they 
simply sit and wait for them. They must be taught to 
want these things even before they have them. Marxist 
organization provides excellent techniques for these 
purposes. Its emphasis on innumerable councils, com- 
mittees, shock brigades for emergency jobs, and so 
forth, provides both training at the grass roots in dis- 
cussion, voting, and self-government, and a chain of 
command through which political directives decided 
on at the top can be passed back down to* the grass 
roots, accompanied at each step by another series of 
councils, committees, and mass meetings at which the 
decisions are explained, the people are exhorted to 
carry them out, and committees are appointed or 
elected to see that they get carried out. 

Burma is the purest example, because of the absence 

202 The Situation in Asia 

of non-Marxist or anti-Marxist competition, of this 
tendency to emphasize Marxism as modern and pro- 
gressive; but the same tendency is present in every 
country in Asia. The inclination to call Marxism pro- 
gressive, and the increasing tendency to take the word 
"democratic" away from Europe and America and 
give it to Russia and Marxism are among the hard facts 
of the Asia of today. To try to deal with them by 
showing that Europe and America have enough police 
and military strength to resist Marxist subversion can- 
not be anything better than an emergency expedient. 
In the long run, Europe and America must be able to 
demonstrate that there can be progress and democracy 
democracy for Asia, in forms acceptable to Asia 
without Marxism. 

In Burma there is more Marxist thinking than there 
is Marxist experience, or political experience of any 
kind. Consequently there is extreme confusion, with all 
kinds of groups, calling themselves Marxist, making 
and breaking alliances with each other. Personal leader- 
ship and the ability to attract personal followers are 
of primary importance in the formation of parties. The 
rivalry of parties is complicated by the fact that Burma, 
like so many countries in Asia, is multinational. The 
"hill tribes," of which politically the Karens are the 
most important, because of their strength in the army, 
can easily be organized to demand autonomy under 
their own chiefs. The British have been accused of 
working through the Karens to keep a foothold in 
Burmese politics. The eventual stabilization of Burma, 
however, may come about through its relations with 

Beachheads of Empire 203 

India and China rather than through the recovery of 
the British influence. 

Indonesia, once considered the model European 
colony in Asia, now shares with Indo-China a reputa- 
tion for devotion to freedom. The "model" rule of the 
Dutch after a period of severe exploitation in the 
nineteenth century stressed the leasing of land, in- 
stead of allowing purchases that would leave the In- 
donesians landless, and the limiting of education to 
prevent too many "natives" from acquiring ideas inap- 
propriate to their station. The unexpected result, after 
the war, was the proof that under modern colonial con- 
ditions it takes only a handful of men with modern 
education to organize and lead effectively a strong 
nationalist movement. 

Partly because Holland itself was able to stay out of 
the First World War, investments in Holland ac- 
quired a reputation for immunity in times of trouble, 
just as investments in Switzerland. These investments 
spread into Dutch undertakings in Indonesia, and in 
addition there were many direct international invest- 
ments in Indonesia, whose most important products 
are commodities of international exchange like tin, 
rubber, oil, tea, kapok, quinine, and, more recently, 
bauxite. The Dutch now count on the sensitiveness of 
American and other investors to put on pressure in 
Washington to prevent effective action against the 
Dutch attempt to reconquer Indonesia. 

Because Holland itself is a small and weak country, 
and because of the importance of international invest- 

204 The Situation in Asia 

rnents, Holland became an elephant-boy country, with 
Indonesia as its elephant. An elephant boy is a young- 
ster who excites admiration by his calm authority over 
a mountainous pachyderm. He gives orders, and prods 
the beast with an iron hook, and the elephant obedi- 
ently moves huge teak logs around. This apparent 
authority of the boy, however, is in reality a subsidiary 
phenomenon of a complex system which has come to 
be accepted by the boy himself, the elephant, and 
everybody else concerned. As long as all the elephants 
are working serenely, a boy is enough. Once there is 
trouble in the elephant herd, however, the authority 
of one boy over one elephant vanishes, and others 
have to step in. 

Elephant trouble began when the Japanese invaded 
Indonesia. The feebleness of the Dutch resistance de- 
stroyed their prestige forever; and there was no loyalty 
among the Indonesians and no reason for loyalty 
to make them fight along with the Dutch as the Fili- 
pinos fought along with the Americans. The very 
limited self-government that the Japanese gave the 
Indonesians was more than the Dutch had given them, 
and enough to give them a little training in administra- 
tion and military organization. When the Japanese 
surrendered the Indonesians were able not only to 
claim independence but to show a military cohesion 
and an administrative ability that astonished Americans 
and dismayed the Dutch. 

The elephant boy was unable to climb back on the 
elephant without British help. A British force found 
that the Indonesians fought so effectively that Japanese 

Beachheads of Empire 205 

who had surrendered had to be armed again and sent 
into battle against them: the British were unable to re- 
conquer the islands, but they were able to get the 
Dutch back in. Since then, the story of Indonesian 
politics has been the story of how the Dutch have 
slowly built up their military forces, winning time to 
do so by setting up as many patronized and protected 
states as possible to compete with the Indonesian Re- 
public, and by resorting intermittently to sudden but 
not sustained military action in order to break the or- 
ganized military forces of the Republic without run- 
ning the risk of a long and exhausting colonial war. 
On the Indonesian side, nationalism has remained 
pervasive; but Indonesia is a complex country of many 
islands, stretching over a distance greater than the 
distance from San Francisco to New York, and among 
its diverse peoples and local interests there have been 
varying degrees of willingness to fight for different 
aspects of nationalism. In view of the complexity of 
Indonesia, the orderliness of political growth has been 
amazing. No revolutionary strong man has emerged 
with dictatorial power. Except for the brief inter- 
lude of the Communist rising in 1948, differences have 
been adjusted by the committee method. In the sense 
of the word which Americans and Europeans are most 
ready to accept, the Indonesian nationalist movement 
has been the most democratic of the colonial revolu- 
tions; and the Dutch therefore dealt a specially deadly 
blow to Western democratic interests when they 
proved that the Indonesians could not win freedom 
by democratic reasonableness, but must be prepared to 

206 The Situation in Asia 

match revolutionary extremism against imperialist ex- 

In 1946 the British mediated between the Dutch and 
the Indonesians with partial success. In 1947 Britain 
and America granted "limited de -facto" recognition to 
the Republic, and the United States urged the Re- 
public to co-operate with the Dutch in forming an 
interim federal government of territories held by the 
Republic and by the Dutch, "further stating that the 
United States was prepared to consider granting finan- 
cial aid to such an interim government upon its estab- 
lishment." 2 Less than a month later the Dutch went 
into "police action" against the Republic with tanks, 
planes, and amphibious operations. This resort to 
violence brought a United Nations cease-fire order 
and, a little later, the sending of a Good Offices Com- 
mittee consisting of a Belgian and an Australian dele- 
gate, under an American chairman. Negotiations 
through this committee continued until December 
1948, when the Dutch once more resorted to military 
action which this time, they hoped, would be conclu- 

The significance of the protracted negotiations lies 
in the fact that they were an appeal to reasonableness. 
In each crisis the pressure on the Indonesians to be 
reasonable was a little stronger than the pressure on 
the Dutch. The Indonesians repeatedly yielded a little 
more than the Dutch, hoping that they would gain, 

2 Raymond Kennedy and Paul M. Kattenburg, Indonesia 
in Crisis, Foreign Policy Reports, New York, December 15, 

Beachheads of Empire 207 

in the form of international approval, what they lost by 
direct concessions. The Dutch resorted to sudden mili- 
tary action each time that they thought they could get 
away with it and each time they did get away with 

During the long negotiations there was one out- 
break of violence on the Republican side but not 
against the Dutch. In September 1948 there was a 
Communist rising against the Republic, led by Muso, 
an old political exile who had just returned after many 
years in Moscow, and Alimin, another exile, who had 
lived not only in Moscow but among the Chinese Com- 
munists. They were joined by Sjarifoeddin, a founder 
and former Premier of the Republic, who suddenly 
declared that he had for many years been a secret 

The call to revolt accused the moderate leaders of 
the Republic of being too soft, and of allowing the 
Dutch to make successive encroachments that would 
eventually enable them to overthrow the Republic. 
Though accused of being soft toward the Dutch, the 
Republic acted toughly and swiftly against the Com- 
munists, dispersing them and killing Muso and Alimin. 
Then, in ironic justification of the Communist pro- 
test, the Dutch not only attacked the Republic but 
accused it of being controlled by Communists. 

A new colonial war is now in full blaze. The Dutch 
hope to crush it because they have 125,000 highly mo- 
bile troops with excellent equipment. Their morale is 
much higher than that of the French, Germans, and 
Africans in Indo-China. They are good, clean Dutch 

208 The Situation in Asia 

boys whose behavior in Indonesian villages has on the 
whole been well disciplined. They are well indoctri- 
nated with the belief that they are saving the Indone- 
sians from the unspeakable horrors of Communism, 
and do not believe that there is such a thing as a 
democratic but anti-Dutch nationalism. The Dutch, 
by sea and air observation, may be able to hamper the 
movement of the nationalists between islands; and on 
Java, the heart of the Republican movement, guerrillas 
will have difficulty in finding terrain where they can 
both hide easily and move freely. 

The Indonesians, however, will probably win. There 
is a general and rapidly increasing sympathy for them 
even in the little separate states set up by the Dutch 
and nominally subservient to the Dutch. The moderate 
leaders of the Republic were captured by the Dutch 
and this, together with the fact that the Republican 
regular forces were scattered by the Dutch onslaught, 
will throw leadership into the hands of two very dif- 
ferent groups the most fanatical Moslems, and the 
surviving Communist leaders. Modern communica- 
tions between revolutionaries in Asia are so good that 
the Communist leaders will soon have at their service 
all the fighting and organizing experience of the Chi- 
nese Communists and the Viet Nam nationalists. 

Most important of all, the elephant-boy weakness of 
the Dutch will be exposed. For Holland, with about 
9,000,000 people, the effort required to maintain a 
fully equipped army of 125,000 in Indonesia under the 
attrition of guerrilla warfare is roughly equivalent to 
the strain that America would feel in keeping an army 

Beachheads of Empire 209 

of more than 2,000,000 in the field in China. Holland 
cannot live on its own resources, and under conditions 
of guerrilla warfare cannot get out of Indonesia the 
revenue that is needed to finance the reconquest of 
Indonesia. The job is too big for an elephant boy. 

What the Dutch have done is to bring on a fresh 
crisis that will affect the whole of Southeast Asia and 
force America, as the subsidizer of Holland, Britain, 
and France, to call for a reconsideration of the colonial 
problem as a whole. This reconsideration will have to 
be carried out in an Asia which has on one flank of the 
colonial area a Communist-led China which has just 
demonstrated that it cannot be controlled by America, 
and on the other an India in which Nehru has called 
for joint action against European military intervention 
against subject peoples anywhere in Asia. The Asian 
Conference on Indonesia has shown that the European 
empires, even with American support, can no longer 
insist that their colonial interests be kept separate from 
the interests of Asia as a whole. 

Ceylon, smaller than Ireland, is of minor impor- 
tance in Asia. It has Dominion status, negotiated since 
the war, but is controlled primarily by plantation 
interests, the most important of which are British- 

Afghanistan in the nineteenth century lay beyond 
the line of diminishing returns of British expansion on 
the northwest frontier of India. The expensiveness of 
campaigning on this frontier and the poor economic 

210 The Situation in Asia 

returns of conquest constrained the British to limit the 
amount of territory annexed. Afghanistan has since 
been regarded as primarily a territory that ought not to 
be occupied by Russia. Since Afghanistan is the neigh- 
bor of Pakistan, and neither of them makes as good a 
base for attack against Russia as Turkey or Iran, there 
is at present no reason why Russian policy should be 
especially active in either country. Russia's primary 
interests lie at the western and eastern ends of the long 
land frontier, and would be harmed by a diversion of 
strength to the middle of the frontier. 

Iran, once divided into spheres of interest between 
Britain and Tsarist Russia, is now a field of British and 
American interest in the south and of Soviet interest 
in the north. Each of these spheres of interest has its 
own belt of oil-bearing lands. Those in the south are 
worked by British and American interests; those in the 
north, on which Russia has options, are not being 
worked because American influence at Teheran is 
strong enough to encourage the government to refuse 
to allow the Russians to go ahead with exploration and 

This stalemate is a temporary phase of the cold war. 
The northern oil fields, which lie on the edge of Soviet 
territory, certainly cannot be worked by American or 
British interests. As long as it remains an accepted in- 
ternational principle that oil lands in countries which 
cannot work them themselves may be exploited by 
outside interests, it will be impossible to maintain per- 

Beachheads of Empire 211 

manently the supplementary principle that only capi- 
talist countries may exploit the oil of their weak neigh- 
bors. The political effects of such a doctrine would be 
too damaging to the interests of the capitalist countries 

The Arab states were formerly in the main British 
protectorates, with French interests in Syria and Leba- 
non. The original British interest was in maintaining a 
desert screen around the Suez Canal. Oil later became 
an additional and complicating interest. The increas- 
ing American investment in Middle East oil does not 
mean identity of interest between the United States 
and Britain. In one aspect America is the partner and 
supporter of Britain. In another, America is a com- 
petitor tending to supplant Britain. 

The international politics of oil have been already 
developed; the effect of oil on the domestic politics of 
the Arab states has yet to gather momentum. Up to the 
present, royalties paid on oil have in the main been 
perquisites of the hereditary Arab rulers. As nationalist 
feeling develops, there will be pressure for more and 
more desk jobs and technical positions for Arabs in the 
refineries and oil fields, in addition to coolie employ- 
ment. It is impossible, however, to educate enough 
Arabs for these jobs without having some of them turn 
their attention to politics. The only possible course 
that internal politics can take is pressure on the heredi- 
tary princes to make them surrender their private roy- 
alty incomes to the state. The Union of India is already 

212 The Situation in Asia 

setting precedents for this kind of development in the 
Indian princely states which it has taken over. 

Turkey is a country that once had Soviet backing 
against Europe, now has American backing against 
Russia, and will inevitably develop the skill to play 
America against Russia. The eventual significance of 
Turkey as a country that can or cannot be used for 
the containment of Russia will become clearer only 
when a more stable relationship between the Balkans 
and Greece can be worked out. Here, as almost every- 
where in Asia, it Is impossible to have a clear-cut policy 
for one country alone. In the meantime, American sup- 
port for Turkey has produced a crisis within Turkey. 
The arms which Turkey receives under the Truman 
Doctrine require Turkey itself to spend more than 
half of its budget to keep up an army large enough to 
use the arms. In Turkey, as in Greece, the Truman 
Doctrine creates as big a problem as the one it hopes to 

Israel is the most dynamic country in Asia. Because 
of the refugees and exiles who have gathered there, it 
probably has a higher concentration of the most mod- 
ern skills and techniques in proportion to population 
than any other country in the world, including the 
United States. No other country so nearly approaches 
the impossible standard of a population consisting en- 
tirely of the elite. Other countries in the Near and 
Far East are struggling with the problem of evolving 
a modern urban civilization out of their ancient agri- 

Beachheads of Empire 213 

cultural and pastoral cultures, Israel has had the prob- 
lem of converting city dwellers into farmers, and has 
been able to solve the problem brilliantly by the mas- 
sive use of technicians and scientists. 

Israel exemplifies the best culture of Europe at a 
very high level of evolution, but it is not revolution- 
ary. Israel's presence in Asia, however, is revolu- 
tionary. Nowhere else in Asia is the scientifically 
skilled and culturally mature European in direct con- 
tact with the ragged, depressed, and oppressed peoples 
of the East as a farmer and artisan, a worker with his 
hands. The nearest equivalent is where Russians and 
Asians meet; but the average attainments of the Rus- 
sian in Asia are not as high as those of the average 
Israeli. And nowhere, outside of Russia, is it possible 
for working Europeans to ask Asian workers to join 
their labor unions with equal rights, as has happened in 
Haifa, where the Israelis have extended their labor 
rights to Arabs. 

It is absolutely impossible to prevent this kind of 
contact from being revolutionary in its effects. As an 
obvious example, the poor Arab who once could not 
think of social promotion except in the form of be- 
coming a richer Arab, but still not a modern man, now 
cannot escape the realization that in many ways it is 
better to be a modern man than a rich Arab. He 
realized this, of course, in a fairy-tale way when he 
admired the marvelous possessions of the British ef- 
fendi whom he occasionally saw. But there is no prac- 
tical pathway to be traveled from ragged Arab to 
British effendi. Living side by side with the Israeli, 

214 The Situation in Asia 

however, he sees both the desirable and the practicable. 
Then comes the revolutionary jump: it is not the 
Israeli who prevents him from living as a modern man, 
but the Arab ruler. 

A quick roll call of the countries which were once 
the strongholds of imperialism brings out problems of 
policy that tend to be overlooked when the policy 
makers concentrate on one country at a time. One 
thing that becomes evident is that American and Euro- 
pean interests in these areas are not identical. Some- 
times there are conflicts between them. The rapid in- 
crease of American oil interests is accompanied by a 
demand for control of strategic air bases and air routes. 
In naval power there is a tendency for the Mediter- 
ranean, which was once almost a British lake, to be- 
come more and more an American lake. In the Medi- 
terranean and Near East America is engaged partly in 
supporting British policy and partly in superseding 
British interests. Where the British no longer have the 
strength to hold on and must hand over to America, 
it is natural for them to try to make the transfer in 
such a way that America will have to carry on as much 
of the old British policy as possible, and protect British 
investments and interests as far as possible, instead of 
simply superseding them and putting a squeeze on Brit- 
ish investments and trade. The other thing that stands 
out is that there can in fact be no such thing as a suc- 
cessful policy tailored for only one colonial country. 
A successful policy for any one country must be care- 
fully dovetailed into policies for other countries, which 

Beachheads of Empire 215 

means that the old claim of European empires to exclu- 
sive sovereignty over their colonial possessions has be- 
come an obstacle that prevents any of them from 
carrying out successful policies. And since colonial 
instability makes these countries unstable in Europe, 
where America is trying to prop them up with the 
Marshall Plan and range them in line through the 
Western Union and the North Atlantic Pact, policy 
in Asia has become for America something that must 
be studied as part of the same complex as policy in 



THE title of this chapter is exactly the same as the 
title of the last chapter of Solution in Asia, which was 
published in 1945, before the surrender of Japan, and 
forecast the policy problems that would arise at the 
end of the war. The contents of the two chapters are 
not identical, but I have chosen the same title again in 
order to emphasize one of the elementary rules of 
policy making: problems of policy are continuous, 
and stem out of each other at successive stages, in such 
a way that even when the same kind of policy is fol- 
lowed or proposed, it must adapt itself in details to 
the changing situations which it is intended to manage. 
It was obvious from the beginning, for instance, 
that independence was the key issue in Korea; but 
when Korea was divided at the 38th parallel for mili- 
tary occupation purposes, American policy made 
the fundamental error of allowing American-Russian 
prestige quarrels in a divided Korea to take precedence 
over the issue of a united Korea. By recognizing that 
this was a blind alley, giving up the prestige quarrel, 
and being the first to withdraw their troops, the Rus- 

American Policy in Asia 217 

sians have reopened the main issue of Korean unity. 
By so doing they have won an advantage, making the 
American occupation forces in South Korea the for- 
eign symbol of a divided country. 

Another elementary rule is that when a mistake in 
policy has been made and it becomes necessary to go 
back to the point where things began to go wrong, 
it is almost always impossible to start over again in an 
attempt to do things the same way, only better. It is 
usually necessary to branch off at an angle. A sound 
policy must do more than acknowledge that there are 
such things as growth and change. It must operate 
within the laws of growth and change. 

As an example, American policy at the end of the 
war sought to slow down the rate of change in Asia 
and to give priority to the political stabilization and 
economic recovery of Europe. Since then, however, 
in spite of American policy, the rate of change in 
Asia has been greater than the rate of recovery in 
Europe. We should therefore recognize the necessity 
of adapting our policy to the changing realities; and 
we can only do so by relaxing our pressure on Asia 
to subordinate its interests to our interests and those 
of Europe, and by increasing our pressure on Europe 
to join us in a policy of negotiating compromises on 
terms acceptable to Asia. 

A sound policy springs from two roots: the char- 
acter of the problem to which the policy is to be ap- 
plied, and the character of the country which wants to 
solve the problem, or to maneuver it into a situation 
in which it can be managed. The most perplexing 

218 The Situation in Asia 

situations in American foreign policy have developed 
from our mistake in ignoring the fact that policy has 
these two roots. The Truman Doctrine, the conse- 
quences of which are now baffling us, is defective as 
a workable American policy because it fails to meet 
the true character of the problem in assuming that 
Greece and Turkey are the kind of country today to 
which British balance-of-power politics were applied 
in the nineteenth century. It also ignores the character 
of America today in the equally mistaken assumption 
that America has the same kind of power that Britain 
had in the nineteenth century. The Truman Doctrine 
originated more in out-of-date British thinking than in 
up-to-date American thinking. It is the child of the 
Fulton, Missouri, speech at which President Truman 
sat on the platform while Winston Churchill rang 
down the Iron Curtain. 

A sound policy must be easily and quickly adaptable 
to both threats of war and opportunities of peace. In 
drafting such a policy, the biggest obstacle in the path 
of the President and the State Department is the wide- 
spread conviction that it is craven appeasement even 
to discuss the adjustments and compromises that are 
necessary to achieve peace, in a situation in which 
America cannot force Russia to retreat all along the 
line any more than Russia can force America to re- 
treat all along the line. 

All American policy must give full weight to the 
importance of power politics, because never before 
in history have the components and units of power 
been so massive and so easy to mobilize and bring into 

American Policy in Asia 219 

play. Since the end of the war, however, one of the 
defects of our policy has been obsession with what 
power can do our own and that of Russia to the 
point of neglecting the limits of power. It is as dan- 
gerous to maneuver in power politics without a pre- 
cise knowledge of the limitations of the power that is 
being used as it is to load a gun with a bullet that is 
too large for the bore. The attempt to bring the course 
of change in China under American management failed 
because there were fundamental mistakes in measuring 
the pressure for change in China, and hence it was not 
realized that the American power that was being ap- 
plied was not right for the job either in kind or in 

Sound power politics must take the measure of the 
possibilities of peace as well as war. Since the Truman- 
Churchill Doctrine there has been so strong an empha- 
sis on the danger of another war and the necessity for 
preparedness that American policy has to a definite 
and dangerous extent hampered its own maneuvera- 
bility if it should turn out, in the next few years, that 
peace is preferable to war because no "big" war can be 
fought under conditions that suit the kind and amount 
of strength that America has. It is disastrous to be 
caught in a war situation with only a peace policy and 
peace preparations. It can also be extremely dangerous 
to be caught with a policy overweighted toward war 
and war preparations in a situation in which peace 
offers the best opportunities for strengthening and ad- 
vancing American interests. 

Politics has its own law of probabilities. The trend 

220 The Situation in Asia 

of the world in any period of history always creates 
conditions under which some things are rather likely 
to happen while other things are rather unlikely to 
happen. The strength of this trend always varies from 
one part of the world to another. 

The first step toward sound policy is to forecast 
this contemporary trend as accurately as possible, and 
to check on its variations in different parts of the 
world. Frequently it is impossible to prevent a de- 
velopment that has too high a momentum of probabil- 
ity. A trend that cannot be absolutely stopped can, 
however, very often be deflected; a development that 
cannot be controlled can usually be influenced. Cor- 
respondingly, a development that has not quite enough 
momentum of probability of its own can often be 
helped along by the right kind of policy. 

The second step toward sound policy is therefore to 
forecast our own resources in terms of trends that can 
be stopped, controlled, influenced, or promoted. 

The third step is to forecast our ability to combine 
our own policy resources with those of other coun- 
tries, and to forecast what we shall have to offer and 
what we shall have to accept in order to get as much 
as possible of what we ourselves want. 

The practice of policy is the combination of these 
changeable elements with enough flexibility to take 
advantage of opportunities that turn out to be big- 
ger than we had foreseen, and to vade or cushion the 
shock of setbacks for which we had not made enough 
allowance in advance. 

In applying these maxims to Asia we must start from 

American Policy in Asia 221 

the probability that in the next few years the area in 
Asia that we are able to control, either by ourselves or 
in association with other countries, will shrink, while 
the area that is out of control will expand. It Is also 
conservative and realistic to forecast that Russia's 
power to control Asia will not expand nearly as fast 
as the power of America and Europe to control Asia 
diminishes. In the gap there will arise a group of 
"third countries," which cannot be counted into our 
line-up but will be able to deal with us and get along 
with us. They will also be able to deal with Russia 
and get along with Russia, without becoming puppets 
controlled outright by Russia. 

The emergence of these third countries is an al- 
together healthy phenomenon. There is a possibility 
that a successful third-country development in China, 
the Union of India, Pakistan, and perhaps later Japan 
and Indonesia, might encourage a trend toward third- 
country development in Europe. Sweden, Norway, 
and Denmark already have a strong third-country 
trend. Yugoslavia might become such a country; so 
might Austria. Eventually France and Italy might be- 
come third countries as part of a general trend, al- 
though they cannot be made into such countries by 
the third-force parties which they have at present. 

We must next consider what kind of country is 
the America which so urgently needs to revise its 
policies in Asia/America is the strongest private-enter- 
prise country in the world, and there are all kinds of 
jobs, all over the world, that can be done better by 
American private enterprise than by any other agency. 

222 The Situation in Asia 

American prosperity will need the stimulus of these 
jobs abroad. They can be successfully undertaken in 
any kind of country, including Communist-controlled 
countries, in the manner of the pioneering jobs that 
Ford Motors and General Electric did in Russia in the 
period between wars. 

American private enterprise, however, stands in- 
creasingly isolated in the world. Its strongest ally, 
British private enterprise, is being taken over stage by 
stage by socialized enterprise. The trend is so strong 
that even if a Tory Government were voted into 
power in the General Election due in 1950, it would 
not be able to reverse much of the legislation carried 
through by the Labour Government. In America it- 
self, the environment of private enterprise is changing. 
Private enterprise needs wider opportunities abroad 
partly because the field is narrowing in America. Gov- 
ernment regulation is increasing, and the trend is to- 
ward more regulation, not less. In addition, there is 
actual competition between public enterprise and pri- 
vate enterprise, particularly in undertakings like TVA 
which actually create new sources of wealth. 

In this changing America organized labor in the next 
four years will for the first time seriously challenge 
organized private enterprise in exerting an influence 
on foreign policy. Changes in Asia will speed up the 
development of labor's interest in foreign relations. 
On the one hand, employment in America can be in- 
creased if America takes a hand in the industrializa- 
tion of China, and if this means coming to terms with 
a Communist-dominated China, labor will not allow 

American Policy in Asia 223 

an American "sulky boycott" of China like Bevin's 
boycott of Israel. On the other hand, now that India 
and Pakistan have risen above colonial status, what 
remains of the colonial system in Asia, especially in 
Malaya and Indonesia, looks more and more like a vast 
collection of big business bonanzas in mines and plan- 
tations. It will not be long before American labor be- 
gins to ask whether American policy in these coun- 
tries is primarily protecting profits at the expense of 
human rights, and to demand a policy that is beneficial 
to American employment as well as to American em- 

The politics of oil is especially vulnerable to attack 
by the labor interest in foreign policy. Investment in 
oil outside of America contributes practically nothing 
to full employment in America. Most of the oil in 
Asia, especially in the Arab states and the Near East, is 
found in countries where there is no political check on 
the feudal power of the hereditary rulers, and no pro- 
tection for labor. The rulers, however, can maintain 
"peace and order" in the interests of the American in- 
vestors who pay them royalties on their oil. There is 
consequently a very heavy pressure on the investors 
to support reactionary policies. In the past this has 
not exposed them to general criticism in America; but 
the criticism is bound to increase. We must not forget 
that there is also oil in countries like China, Indonesia, 
and Burma, where politics are already modern, as com- 
pared with the feudal politics of the Near East. Every 
improved oil agreement negotiated in these more ad- 
vanced countries will hasten the maturing of domestic 

224 The Situation in Asia 

and international issues in the oil politics of the Near 

The United States is the most powerful country in 
the world, but it is already clear that even American 
power cannot reach into all parts of the world with 
equal effect at all times. The limits of American power 
and the degree to which Asia is passing out of con- 
trol mean that American policy must team up with 
the policies of some countries and come to an under- 
standing with other countries that is far short of hos- 
tility in one direction, but far short of alliance in the 

These requirements provide a scale of priority. First, 
America must work in virtual alliance with Britain and, 
if possible, France. This close association is already 
foreshadowed in the proposed North Atlantic Pact, 
the nucleus of which is the Western Union of Britain, 
France, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. This al- 
liance or near alliance has its own limitations, one of 
which is that the European countries cannot be treated 
as satellites, completely obedient to American orders. 
They can bring their own pressures to bear on Amer- 
ica. A second limitation is that Britain no longer com- 
pletely controls either the British Empire or the Brit- 
ish Commonwealth. Pakistan and the Union of India, 
especially the Union of India, now hold to a degree 
that must be respected the power to make the British 
Commonwealth work smoothly, if they go along 
with it willingly, or badly, if they do not approve of 
its policies. 

A third limitation on the effectiveness of America's 

American Policy in Asia 225 

European allies is the colonial problem. This problem 
is likely to get more out of control rather than more 
under control, and not too much time is left before it 
begins to spread from Asia to Africa. Even complete 
agreement between America, Britain, France, and Hol- 
land cannot now make it possible to reduce Indonesia, 
Malaya, and Indo-China to unresisting obedience. On 
the other hand it is not to the interest of the colonial 
countries to wreck the economy of Europe. All of 
them have in fact suggested economic compromise 
with Europe even while insisting on political freedom. 
They are on the winning end of this argument. Some 
immediate compromise will have to be found, and 
America will have to be a party to it, because the 
colonial countries still trust America, in spite of many 
disillusionments, more than they do their European 

Next in order of priority come relations with the 
"third countries," the most important of which are 
China, the Union of India, Pakistan, and probably, 
within a few years, Japan. These countries have two 
powerful bargaining points in dealing with America. 
They can make it either much more easy or much 
more difficult to settle the colonial problem. And, by 
refusing to act as an American front line against Rus- 
sia, they can make us bid for the terms on which they 
will not act as a front line for Russia against the inter- 
ests in Asia of America and Europe. 

The Mongolian People's Republic (Outer Mon- 
golia) belongs in a special category on the fringe of 
the third-country classification. It would be to the 

226 The Situation in Asia 

American interest to bring Mongolia nearer to third- 
country status. Instead we have made the mistake of 
voting against Mongolia as a member of the United 
Nations, alleging that there is doubt about whether 
it is in fact independent. The point is that Mongolia 
was for years sandwiched between the Soviet Union 
and a non-Communist China. In this period the Mon- 
gols were more afraid of China than of Russia. On the 
Russian side there was always the danger of control, 
but on the Chinese side there was the danger of com- 
plete obliteration through Chinese colonization. 

Now Mongolia is between a Communist-ruled Rus- 
sia and a Communist-controlled China. In this situa- 
tion it would be an advantage to American policy to 
be able to emphasize that there is a country, occupy- 
ing 600,000 square miles of territory in the frontier 
zone between China and Russia, inhabited by people 
who are neither Chinese nor Russians. It is impos- 
sible to make use of this advantage unless the separa- 
tion of Outer Mongolia is emphasized by membership 
in the United Nations and there are direct relations 
and an exchange of diplomatic representatives between 
America and Mongolia. It is true that Mongolia as a 
member of the United Nations would mean another 
vote for Russia; but would this be a greater disadvan- 
tage than our present complete lack of access to this 
key country between China and Russia? American 
recognition of Mongolia would have been much more 
advantageous if it had been effected before the great 
changes in China; but it is not too late now. 

Third in order of priority come relations with Rus- 

American Policy in Asia 227 

sia, which, though much less powerful than America, 
is the only country in the world powerful enough to 
take an individual stand against America and to range 
a group of allies, satellites, and sympathetic countries 
against the group of countries that look to America 
for backing. If the first two priorities in American 
foreign policy can be dealt with satisfactorily, it will 
be possible to substitute a cold truce for the present 
cold war with Russia. If not, the cold war will con- 
tinue under conditions that will probably swing slowly 
in favor of Russia, because our allies in Europe are 
willing to be supported and subsidized to prevent the 
infiltration of Communism, but are much less willing 
to be sacrificed if America, feeling that the cold war 
against Russia is not going well, should want to switch 
to a hot war. 

These three steps of priority mean that American 
policy, to be successful, must operate through the 
United Nations as much as possible and strengthen 
the United Nations as much as possible. A two-world 
system of American allies and satellites, ranged against 
Russian allies and satellites, is ncft enough in Amer- 
ica's favor and may be too much in Russia's favor. 
Only by working through the United Nations can 
the third countries, which are already critically im- 
portant in Asia and may become important in Europe, 
be brought closer to the American side than to the 
Russian side. 

The State Department is extremely sensitive to the 
suggestion that America has weakened or by-passed 
the United Nations. The sensitivity is understandable, 

228 The Situation in Asia 

because the State Department has to make the official 
statements that are intended to cover up not only its 
own mistakes but those of the President and the Con- 
gressand the least defensible mistakes that it is 
forced to try to defend are those of the 80th Congress. 
Yet the truth, which no official alibis can hide per- 
manently, is that the most successful American policies 
have been those that were carried out through the 
United Nations; the most disastrous have been those 
that by-passed the United Nations. 

UNRRA, a United Nations operation for which 
America supplied most of the money, was an outstand- 
ing success except in China, where the United Na- 
tions had no authority or influence. In Eastern Europe, 
White Russia, and the Ukraine, what remains of 
friendly feeling for America is due primarily to the 
operations of UNRRA, in which American selfish 
interests were soft-pedaled while American goods were 

Even more outstanding was the success of the pres- 
sure exercised throiigh the United Nations which re- 
sulted in the withdrawal of the Russians from Iran 
in 1947. Washington has not yet learned the lesson of 
this retreat. It has now become an obsession with 
Washington that the Russians, somewhere in the 
world, must back off in the face of direct American 
pressure. Only after they have made a token retreat of 
some kind acknowledging that America, without the 
United Nations, is stronger than Russia will Washing- 
ton consent to talk about deals and agreements. This 
kind of American pressure, outside of the United Na- 

American Policy in Asia 229 

tions, has been a flat failure. We should take up issues 
between ourselves and Russia in the form that empha- 
sizes political strength in the United Nations, not in the 
form that emphasizes military strength outside the 
United Nations. 

On the other hand the Truman Doctrine on Greece 
and Turkey, which would be less embarrassing and 
more accurately described if it were known as the 
Churchill Doctrine, by-passed the United Nations. It 
has led to a situation in which America cannot ac- 
knowledge failure for fear of seeming to admit defeat 
by Russia, while Russia cannot seek a compromise for 
fear of seeming to yield to America. The Marshall 
Plan also by-passed the United Nations. If, like 
UNRRA, it had been routed through the United Na- 
tions it would have been impossible for Russia to keep 
Poland and Czechoslovakia from participation, and 
difficult for Russia itself to stay out. The Marshall 
Plan has been a partial success, but it cannot be more 
than that because even the Europeans who are helped 
by it are convinced that it was not intended to unify 
the world economically, but to divide it permanently 
into American-controlled and Russian-controlled 

The American effort to slow down the rate of 
change in China and make it manageable also by-passed 
the United Nations. The idea of a manageable rate of 
change was in itself admirable. It might have suc- 
ceeded if carried out through the United Nations, in 
such a manner as to assure the Chinese that they were 
not being put on the firing line of an American policy 

230 The Situation in Asia 

against Russia, and would not later be transferred 
into the firing line of a Russian policy against America. 
It could not succeed as a purely American policy. Its 
failure left America with an exposed flank in Asia, and 
with a damaged prestige that could not be spread over 
the members of the United Nations. 

We shall get nowhere if, every time one of the two 
great powers makes a concession, it looks like a direct 
increase of power for the other. Statesmanlike adjust- 
ments can best be made through the United Nations, 
in forms that strengthen its authority. At present the 
United Nations is in danger of becoming a parade 
ground on which one regiment of countries lines up 
with a yes-vote for Russia and another with a yes-vote 
for America. We should take the lead over Russia 
in changing the United Nations into an organization 
into which increasing strength can be built. To do so 
it is necessary to change the practice of by-passing it 
every time it is hoped an advantage can be gained for 
America, and appealing to it only when a deadlock is 
expected. It should be through the United Nations, not 
outside of it, that we assure the peoples to whom our 
policies are applied that they are being built into a 
world order in which all sacrifices are shared, and all 
benefits are pooled. 

If we cannot control Asia, we must get Asia to 
participate in our policies. Asia will not participate if 
it is convinced that it is being given a low priority in 
order to insure the recovery of Europe first; nor will 
it participate if it suspects that it is being made the 
victim of the hostility of on,e of the two giant powers 

American Policy in Asia 231 

of the world to the social, economic, and political sys- 
tem of the other giant power. If it comes to that kind 
of game, there are too many countries in Asia that 
can play off Russia and America against each other 
more successfully than either America or Russia can 
use them as pawns. 

Recognizing the limitations that force us to admit 
that we no longer have control and must work through 
influence and the building up of mutual interests, we 
should begin our revision of policy at the European 
end. We should assure the European countries that 
are getting Marshall Plan aid and also have colonies 
that we do not approve of their using any of these 
funds for military purposes in Asia. Without making 
a unilateral decision, we should put forward the fol- 
lowing policy to be discussed on a footing of equality 
with both Marshall Plan countries and their colonies: 

1. Set aside, from present Marshall Plan grants, a 
fund proportionate to the importance of the 
colonies in the economic recovery of Europe. 

2. Use this fund not as a Marshall Plan operation but 
as a new United Nations operation, a program 
of economic co-operation between the colonial 
countries and Europe aimed jointly at European 
economic recovery and colonial industrializa- 

3. Set a premium on rapid emancipation by increas- 
ing the allocations to be shared between countries 
that have become fully independent and their 
former rulers. 

4. Avoid the trap of demanding "peace and order'* 

232 The Situation in Asia 

as the price of aid to liberated colonies a policy 
which only results in strong-man government on 
the surface and discontent under the surface. 
Peace and order should be the result achieved by 
sound policies, not the hold-up price asked for 
economic handouts. 

Concurrently, there should be a declaration of 
American policy to cover such cases as Malaya, where 
an immediate grant of full independence would prob- 
ably lead to increased bloodshed instead of peace. 
This declaration should state that in the American view 
a definite date should be set for full independence; the 
number of years to run before independence is 
achieved should be set by the United Nations, not 
by the ruling power, and it should be set after consul- 
tation with the people or peoples of each colony on 
a footing of equality, as well as with the ruler. 

The Arab states and Iran are protectorates or 
spheres of influence rather than colonies. The chief 
issues are oil and strategic security. American policy 
could take a commanding lead by proposing a special 
kind of "oil trusteeship" under the authority of the 
United Nations, The principle should be that these 
countries should not suffer damage to their own long- 
term interests by having their oil exported to in- 
dustrialized countries, while they receive only royal- 

All countries should be free to compete in operating 
oil concessions under general regulation by a United 
Nations Oil Authority. Competition should be open 
to both state enterprise and private enterprise. The 
country providing the oil should receive royalties 

American Policy in Asia 233 

which are funded to benefit the whole country and its 
people, not merely the privy purse of the hereditary 

If oil politics are properly handled, the security issue 
will in large measure be settled automatically. The 
strengthening of the countries in between the Soviet 
Union and American and British interests will enable 
them to hold the rival great powers apart. 

If policy for colonial Asia and the Near East is well 
drafted, it will make much simpler the formulation of 
policy toward such countries as Pakistan, the Union of 
India, Burma, Siam, and China. In all these countries 
American policy should avoid attaching itself to per- 
sons who thereby become identified as "agents" of 
American interests. In all these countries the Ameri- 
can policy should respond to, and be aimed at, the 
policies of the countries themselves. The American 
interest in these countries is to cultivate the maximum 
field of legitimate operation for American private 
enterprise in trade, in contracting and engineering, 
and in supplying and installing machinery. 

The countries of Asia have an interest of their own 
in encouraging this kind of American activity, which 
will offset whatever relations they have with Russia. 
America can supply what they need; Russia can sup- 
ply very little. We must, however, accept the limita- 
tion that practically nowhere in Asia can we succeed 
for very long in demanding bad political relations with 
Russia as the price of good economic relations with 
America. Our bluff would be called too soon, and we 
had therefore better not even attempt the policy. 

We shall also have to learn to do without political 

234 The Situation in Asia 

controls or guarantees to safeguard the financial se- 
curity of our investments. "Risk capital," the Chinese 
and Indians and others will say, a is entitled to the 
profits of risk capital. It is not entitled to the rewards 
of risk capital plus political guarantees which elimi- 
nate risk. Trade with us, take your profits, and come 
back for more, or don't trade." Both China and 
India would like to trade with us and make more 
rapid progress; but they will be stable enough to 
survive, and to stand us off, if we do not give them 
fair commercial terms. 

In expanding the legitimate activity of American 
private enterprise it is essential to recognize and en- 
courage the aspirations of free private enterprise in the 
countries with which we deal. In all countries that are 
weak in their economic development there is a tend- 
ency for some businessmen to lean on stronger foreign 
enterprise. Throughout the Far East such men are 
known as compradores. They take a commission, as 
agents and brokers, on the deals they put through 
for foreign enterprise, and because of this relationship 
they tend to support any privileges or unequal eco- 
nomic advantages that may be enjoyed by foreign 
enterprise. They are disliked and politically distrusted 
in their own countries because they are dependent, 
not independent. 

Free and nationalistic enterprise competes against 
these compradores. In the long run it is to the Ameri- 
can interest that the compradore should be replaced 
by the independent businessman, because in no coun- 
try in Asia can private enterprise be strong enough to 

American Policy in Asia 235 

support and influence a government that is really in- 
dependent unless it is itself genuinely independent. 
In China and the Philippines especially there is deep 
distrust of the businessman whose influence on the 
government is suspected of serving as a channel for 
the pressure of foreign interests. 

American policy can help to build up the inde- 
pendent businessman in Asia by consenting promptly 
to the revision of treaties such as those signed with 
China and the Philippines after the war. These treaties 
were drawn up in the name of a spurious "equality," 
giving Chinese and Filipino businessmen the "legal" 
right to engage in some of the same activities in Amer- 
ica that are permitted American businessmen in China 
and the Philippines. In the case of the Philippines, 
Americans were granted rights which Philippine 
citizens do not have in the United States. Such treaties 
follow the letter but evade the spirit of the American 
principle of encouraging freedom of trade all over the 
world r- especially when America continues to main- 
tain its own tariff protection. The treaties must be 
revised because no country in Asia can make itself 
economically strong and sound unless it can pass laws 
favoring the development of its own independent 
industries/America is entitled to equality in competi- 
tion with other countries outside of Asia for invest- 
ment and trade in Asia, but not to advantages, in any 
country, over the businessmen of that country. 

An American policy of cordiality toward a third- 
country type of political and economic independence 
will make possible a sound Japan policy. In a very few 

236 The Situation in Asia 

years Japan can become one of the most important 
third countries but only if it is as free to make agree- 
ments with China, Russia, and India as with America. 
The limiting factor for United States policy is the fact 
that the Japanese are politically so experienced, and 
economically so well organized and adaptable, that 
they are already playing us against Russia more suc- 
cessfully than we can play them against Russia. This 
situation is one that we cannot control. It is therefore 
to our interest to negotiate a peace treaty with Japan 
as soon as possible; to negotiate it as an internationally 
agreed treaty and not as an American-dictated treaty; 
and to end our occupation. Abandoning our attempt 
to use Japan as the exclusive instrument of our policy 
because we cannot get away with it we must 
thereafter look to strengthening the United Nations 
for the checks and balances we shall need in the ad- 
justment of our relations with Russia. 

There remains the question of our military position 
in the North Pacific. We must get rid of the dangerous 
illusions that Japan and South Korea, which politically 
will become steadily more resentful of our presence 
and control, can be of any lasting value to our mili- 
tary security. We must protect our own territory, and 
we have the means to do so. We now control such a 
deep screen of islands that we cannot be attacked 
across the broad part of the Pacific either from Japan 
or from bases in China. In addition we have Alaska, 
which is our true bastion for all forms of defense, in- 
cluding offensive defense by the use of long-range 
planes and projectiles. We do not need beachheads 

American Policy in Asia 237 

from which to assault continental Asia, because Asia, 
strategically, is an area in which our ground strength 
would certainly be dissipated and could not possibly 
be concentrated. 

Hitherto we have followed an emergency policy of 
trying to contain and oppose Russia with our own 
strength, while trying to build up support behind a 
front line that we hold virtually alone. Now we can 
reverse the approach. The colonial, colonial-European, 
and third-country policies that I have outlined would 
enable us to take up the adjustment of our relations 
with Russia backed by the good will of countries in- 
dependent of us but benefiting by association with 
us, and therefore having a vested interest in remaining 
free of control by Russia. 

The fundamental adjustment will then require the 
Russians to concede that capitalism is not withering 
or collapsing, while we shall have to concede that 
Communism cannot be extirpated by war. On our 
side, we shall have given a fresh impetus to both cap- 
italism and political democracy. We shall have a 
strong competitive advantage in being able to help 
more people get what they want than the Russians 
can. We shall have turned the disadvantage of an Asia 
that we are not strong enough to control into the 
advantage of an Asia strong enough to refuse to be 
controlled by Russia. And by dovetailing policy in 
Asia with policy in Europe, instead of seesawing back 
and forth between the two, we shall have made pos- 
sible the consolidation of third-country buffers in 
Europe as well as in Asia. 

238 The Situation in Asia 

Throughout Asia today there prevails an atmosphere 
of hope, not of despair. There is not a single country 
in Asia in which people feel that we are entering on an 
age of chaos. What they see opening out before them 
is a limitless horizon of hope the hope of peaceful 
constructive activity in free countries and peaceful 
co-operation among free peoples. There will be dis- 
illusionments along the way as these hopes unfold. 
They should not come from America, or as the result 
of American policy. A great part of Asia's hopes, how- 
ever, will be fulfilled, and should be fulfilled with 
American co-operation. We have everything to gain 
by being on the side of hope. 



Afghanistan, 4, 20, 45, 46, 97, 


All India Congress, 184 
American aid, 44, 98, 150, 151, 

interests, 10, 12, 210, 214, 

233, 234 
policy, 13, 15, 42, 52, 57, 58, 


177-180, 182, 193, 198, 

214, 215, 216-238 
power, 8, 9, 36, 42, 44, 63, 

74, 87, 102, 166, 219, 224 
Arab States, 45, 46, 211, 213 
Asian Conference, 187, 209 
Associated Press, 195 
atom bomb, 110, 111, 112 
attraction, politics of, 100, 


Australia, 186 
Azerbaijan, 76 ff. 

BELGIUM, 10, 15 
Beresford, Lord Charles, 27 
Blackett,P. M. S., 110 
Britain, British, 5, 8, 9, 10, 41, 
64, 70, 89, 90, 180, 183 ff., 

196, 204, 206, 210, 214, 

218, 222, 224 
British Commonwealth, 185, 

British Empire, 14, 15, 17, 20, 

183, 224 
Burma, 5, 42, 46, 198, 200, 

201, 202 
Buryats, 79 

CAPITALISM, 67, 189 
Catholics, 195 
Ceylon, 42, 46, 209 
Chiang Kai-shek, 31, 44, 54, 
71, 120, 131, 136, 137, 
150, 153, 174, 175, 176 
Chinese civil war, 9, 71, 72 
coalition government, 152, 


Communists, 55, 60, 71, 72, 
89, 100, 101, 140-144, 146, 
148, 150,154, 156 fl, 164, 

economy, 73, 171, 222 
Empire, 18 
in Malaya, 197 
Japanese war, 72 
landlords, 72 

242 Index 

power, 6, 23 Hurley, Patrick J., 147 

Revolution, 70 ff. Hyderabad, 185 
Russian relations, 11, 27, 44, 

9*> 164 . INDIA, 5, 36, 42, 45, 46, 182- 
Chou En-lai, 33 1 g 8 

Christian Science Monitor, l n do-China, 6, 9, 42, 194 

n 195 Indonesia, 6, 9, 42, 45, 98, 
Chu Teh, 34 203-209 

Churchill, Winston, 218 j^ 4^ n, 45, 46, 97 

collectivization, 159 Israel, 4, 89, 212 
colonial system, 38, 42, 223, 

225. See also empire _. 

Congress, 80th U.S., 106, 109, JAPANESE AGGRESSION, 34, 37, 

115 1<S5 A i 

American relations, 126, 

T^ r. r, ,o 127 > 235 ' 236 

DULLES FOSTER RHEA, 28 "bulwark," 7, 103, 120 ff. 

Dutch. See Holland Chinese relations ; i29> 164 

Communists, 131 

EMPIRE, 8, 12, 14 ff., 37, 58, 64, constitution, 114 
181 > 183 Emperor, 112, 113 

Europe, Eastern, 48, 49, 51, Empire, 76 

6 0> 6 *> & power, 29, 43 

European, 8, 9, 12, 13, 55, resources, 124, 125 
65, 181, 201, 214, 217, "workshop," 6, 104 ff., 117, 
22 * 125, 126 

Western, 63 ff. Jinnah, Mohammed AH, 184 


107 Kashmir, 185 

Formosa 47, 179 180 Kattenberg, Paul, 206 

France, French, 8, 9, 10, 42, Kazakhs? 75, 79? 83 

^ Kennedy, Raymond, 206 

Kirghiz, 75 

HIROSHIMA, 110 Klingen, 23 

"Historicus," 54, 141 Korea, 11, 45, 92 ff., 216 

Ho Chi Minh, 194, 199 Kuomintang, 47, 59, 71, 72, 
Holland, 8, 9, 10, 15, 42, 203- 97, 101, 136-138, 142-146, 

209 149, 150, 154 

Horiuchi, 131 Kweichow, 154 



North Atlantic Pact, 10, 215, 


landlords, 72, 77, 191 
Lauterbach, Richard E., 147, 


Lenin, 159 
Li Chi-sen, 153 
Li Li-san, 171 

PAKISTAN, 5, 42, 46, 182, 188 


LAS, 105, 106, 107, 108, * 00 * Tn c 

109, 110, 113, 114, 131, 

191, 192 
Malaya, 6, 41, 45, 196, 200, 

Manchester Guardian, 195 po w ^ 

OIL, 210, 211, 223, 232 
Open Door Doctrine, 21, 
26 ff. f 

66-69, 158, 159ff., 
Trade Act, 192 

;, 14, 36, 

a ,, 
, Raphael, 22 

Manchuria, 20, 45, 88, 143, Pn J\ 
144, 145, 146, 156, 168 - m P eiI 
Mao Tze-tung, 141, 158, 172, ^^ ^^ ^ K 

Marsh a ll,Jecretary George resistance movementS) 139 

revolution, 13, 52 
Chinese, 30, 70 ff. 

Marshall Plan, 10, 49, 58, 103, p*^ JL*' ** ox 
MO 71 < > S*1 Rhee, Synghman, 96 

Q, 166 

Marshall Mission, 121, 147, 

140 ?K 770 7*1 
149, 2 15, 22V, 231 

Roxas, Manuel, 192 

Marxism, 54, 157, 163, 200, rubbe ^ 196 


minorities, 18, 19, 65, 82, 154 
Mohammedans, 154 
Mongolia, 11, 19, 78, 84, 172, 

173 . 
Mongolian People's Republic, 

91, 225, 226 
Muso, 99, 207 


21, 33, 37, 47, 52, 61, 65, 
163, 180, 195, 205 
Nehru, 34, 186, 187, 209 

Russian aid, 100, 102, 148 
expansion, 23, 28, 33, 49, 

134, 135 
frontier, 10 ff., 48, 75, 79, 

100, 173, 210 
industry, 44, 167 
policy, .52, 53, 54, 83, 95, 

power, 4, 3<5, 50, 63, 74, 87, 


SCAP, 105,106, 107,114 
Sam,. 20, 195 



Singapore, 197 
Sinkiang, 172, 173 
Soviet. See Russian, 
steel, 50 
Sun Fo, 153 
SunYat-sen, 33, 54, 71, 
Szechuan, 154 

Truman Doctrine, 148, 176, 

212, 218, 229 
Turkey, 11, 45, 212 

UlGHURS, 81 

United Nations, 77, 92, 118, 

180, 187, 206, 227-230 
Uzbeks, 79 

TAIWAN. See Formosa VIET NAM, 194, 208 

"third" countries, 221, 225, 


tin, 196 

Titoism, 86, 163 
Truman, President Harry S., 


WORKERS, 159ff. 

YUNNAN, 154 


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a c e ' A 


ojvres r A 

Scale of Miles 

O 200 40.0 600 eOO WOO